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1
Choose Your Own Topic / Is the moon really there if you can't look at it?
« on: February 09, 2020, 05:47:42 am »
Here is something on existence I have been worrying about which might be of interest to you guys, and I would be glad for your opinions on whether the basic logic is ok.
 
It similar to the question of whether the moon is really there when you are not looking at it, except it changes it to the question is the moon really there if it’s not possible to look at it.

I think it is relevant to first cause and basis of reality considerations. i.e. what would the nature of a creator God have to be like, but also what would the nature of the singularity and/or the whole show have to be like if you were trying to construct an atheist narrative.


Knowledge: awareness gained by experience of a fact or situation

Existence: The fact of having an objective reality


1.   Something can be known to exist in a world or context if it is possible to have an awareness of its objective reality in that world or context.

2.   Awareness of an objective realty comes from the sensory perceptions available to that reality. (In our world this would be all those sensory perceptions afforded to and which could be measured by space and time, but in addition possibly abstractions as abstractions (maybe abstractions are a different world and should be treated separately - as they just come into existence when you think of them?))

3.   If it is not possible to have an awareness of a proposed something in any world, because that something is a singular thing (i.e. there is no context of perception or awareness available to it) in a proposed world unto itself – then that proposed something cannot have an objective reality in any world.

4.   Something which cannot have an objective reality in any world, cannot exist.


I am afraid that my current personal circumstances mean my further engagement will be  quite limited.

2

1.   The 2nd law of thermodynamics states that overall all natural change processes move from thermodynamic order to disorder. Notionally it exists as a complete natural explanation of all natural processes, as it potentially describes all intervening thermodynamic states in any change process.
2.   The 2nd law, acknowledged as the queen of laws by Einstein, is known to apply to every single scientific process and informs our understanding of them, both at the classical and quantum level.
3.   Gibbs free energy is a measure of whether such a change process will occur naturally and spontaneously.
4.   In a fixed system the arrow of the 2nd law will eventually lead to heat death where Gibbs free energy is negative. There will then be no more meaningful change processes and therefore also time will stop.
5.   By definition of its name the universe is a fixed system.
6.   If the universe has always existed, that is necessarily exists, then there has already been an effective infinite amount of time for the heat death of 3.) to have occurred.
7.   Because the heat death of 3.) has not occurred then either a) the universe does not necessarily exist and we must look for something else as the basis of existence, or b) the 2nd law does not always apply.
8.   Given 2.), 7b.) would seem implausible.
9.   Nature by the fact of the 2nd law therefore gives evidence that it cannot account for existence.

Any thoughts?

3
I didn’t get much traction on my previous thread of “A Conundrum of Existence- any thoughts?”, but thanks to Harvey and Wonderer for their input.

This conundrum of existence came out as part of a consideration of what a coherent necessary being hypothesis would be. The consideration of such seemed important given that in the end all world views must avoid infinite regression and so are obliged for the sake of coherence to postulate some kind of necessary being as a stop to it.

By doing an abstract thought experiment I seemed to run into the issue that fundamentally existence needs both “actual being” and “knowledge of that being” to be coherent and possible. This would seem to be undoubtedly the case if we are talking in abstracts, or ideas, (or the spiritual), for then the existence of an idea (all by itself at necessary existence) and the knowledge of it necessarily coalesce into the same thing – you cannot have one without the other they seem to be self-contingent on each other.

What did my head in was whether this would also apply to physical reality (all by itself in some necessary existence). Of course any proponent of Intelligent design or Cognitive Behaviour therapy would happily say that it is probably so because the abstract thought always proceeds the doing and embodiment of it. But I do not think we can get a proper handle on it, all we can say for sure is that pure single entity physical existence (from the previous thread) is as impotent as if nothing existed at all. As Wonderer suggested W0 and W1 are in fact defined differently and so in that sense not the same, but there remains the possibility that W1 while capable of abstract definition is in fact impossible in reality.

Although by definition one would image that necessary existence is not contingent upon anything else for its existence, it would seem that there are a number of other qualities needed to co-exist for necessary-existence to be possible. We might I suppose call these inseparable self-contingent qualities, like the geometrical surfaces of a cuboid – distinguishable but not separable.

So my list of likely necessary qualities of necessary pure existence are as follows;
1.   Lack of external contingency ( this is the fundamental, able to exist entirely alone, otherwise it will not necessarily exist)
2.   Un-diminishability (it can never degrade to go out of existence and so is also at least as a whole unchanging)
3.   Lack of linear sequence (to avoid infinite regression)
4.   Cannot be broken into more fundamental parts, but clearly, given this, list having a number of necessary self-contingent qualities (i.e. like the geometric surfaces of a cuboid)
5.   Must know itself to exist, (otherwise if is entirely alone with nothing else to know it, it might just as well not be there).

For atheistic naturalism these criteria might be fulfilled as follows:-

1.   Just always is and always was in the same way that 1st law says energy can neither be created nor destroyed – this is the necessary existence we are aiming at.
2.   The 1st law of thermodynamics, energy is neither created or destroyed just transforms from one form to another. (But space time is not all there is, what about abstractions? Is reality in fact fundamentally an abstraction embodied in space time)
3.   Conformal Cyclic cosmology to avoid the normal total defeater of the clearly linear 2nd law leading to heat death. This “magically” manages to get a big bang out of heat death without reversal of the linear second law by sticking the beginning to the end and getting an endless cycle. (Note this would have to be done without the loss of any matter/energy, otherwise this cycle, although now transformed into a series of cascades would still peter out, and so in the end still be linear. (and I do not think it does this))
4.   1st law of thermodynamics – although superficially it breaks into the constituent parts of cause and effect naturally driven by Gibbs free energy, it is still all energy in one form or another. In addition the various Fine Tuning constants would be part of the self-contingent qualities of its whole necessary shape.
5.   It does not know itself (as a whole) to exist, its only possible self-knowledge by definition is the distinction or consciousness between each cause and effect point of its grand cycle. As a whole it is therefore unintelligent and purposeless. (But this seems odd in that it has produced abstract self -conscious thought which is more than just space/time and in a sense capable of knowing the whole of space and time, when space and time by definition could not know itself).

For a theistic position this would be;
1.   God is self-existent.
2.   God is spiritual like an abstract idea (but also with potency), and so is un-diminishable, sharing ideas does not diminish the original.
3.   God does not change within himself, but might live in the sequence of the alternative expression of his self-contingent characteristics within for example the cycle of a song.
4.   God has a number of self-contingent characteristics, which in total might be called the shape of, or song of love.
5.   God cannot know his whole self from the alternative distinctions of his self-contingent characteristics. He can only know his whole self (in the same way that we are self-conscious) through the apportionment of his self-contingent characteristics into portions as in the Trinity, each as observers of the other.

What these considerations give us is that any coherent God hypothesis also has to be Trinitarian (or similarly in portions in a communion) because a necessarily existent God must also be able to know his whole self to have the necessary quality of self-existence, but by definition could not obtain this from within his self-contingent characteristics (see point 3). Such self-knowledge could therefore only come from the apportionment of the Godhead to portions with different roles (or songs) in communion. Without this apportionment he could not know all of himself or act as a whole apart from himself; for example to create or relate to other things apart from himself.

The atheistic position (which in this form is not dissimilar to pantheism) doesn’t seem to be able to (yet?) construct a coherent hypothesis for necessary existence, and even if it could it would still not give it any meaning.

The theistic position is interesting in that it shows that a Trinitarian apportionment within the God head is necessary to establish the requirement for necessary existence, coherent.

The purpose under theism would be to grow existence and to glory in it. This could be achieved with a particular geometry of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with the son incarnate to a created time sequence which runs in parallel to his own heavenly full cycle around the father. The Spirit communicating between the two. At the heat death (or as good as) of each created sequence is a recreation which the son is again incarnate to. In this way the divine cycle is eternally extended into a spiral through interaction with subsequent finite time sequences and change caused by interaction with freewill creatures. The divine does not change as in point 3.) but the part of his song he sings, or the face of the whole cuboid he presents might change in response to the freewill decision of these creatures in their finite time sequence. By Creating freewill creatures God gets to extemporize his notes with others and so play more than just his own tune.  Finally these creates must both agree to play in tune with him (otherwise they get kicked out for disharmony) and they must also live by faith in the benevolence of God, especially in that he will reboot them through each recreation.

Again – any thoughts?



4
Choose Your Own Topic / A Conundrum of existence - any thoughts?
« on: September 18, 2019, 03:48:44 pm »
A Conundrum of existence

I am not sure if this issue has been covered before. In any case I have been away for nearly 2 years so may also have missed it.

Infinite regression
I have broadly come to the conclusion that in a cause and effect world this is a real problem both logically and thermodynamically. In other words for any worldview to be coherent it must manage a stop to cause and effect. In theism this is covered (roughly I think) by the notion of God’s aseity. In atheism this is covered by attempting some kind of cyclical view so the “whole show” can just always be. I believe that Penrose’s Conformal Cyclic Cosmology is the latest atheistic approach to tackle the thermodynamic aspect of this problem, big bang to big crunch having fallen by the way side. But whichever way you come at it this stop to infinite regression suggests a form of necessary existence, and which is rather counter intuitive to us cause and effect thinkers. This then got me thinking to what we can really mean by existence and then also by it being necessary.

Necessary existence – what is it?

So a though experiment. I have a blob of stuff which exists – always has and always was. To be necessary it must not be contingent upon anything else, so this blob of stuff can’t be made of separable constituent parts, otherwise there would be internal contingency, it must be unchanging in the sense of being inexhaustible and if it has some kind of sequence this must be cyclic (to avoid infinite linear regression and it must be able to exist completely alone and so not contingent on anything else.

So my blob of stuff is now a single particle of stuff which can’t be broken into separate parts, which exists alone but which might have some cyclic quality to it.

•   The problem is what does existing alone mean?
•   Can anything actually exist alone?
•   If it is alone how does it know that it exists, for it is the only thing that could know of its existence?
•   Does not the knowledge of anything require some kind of separation into parts, so that one thing can be known in relation to another?
•   Is there any qualitative difference between existing alone and unable to sense oneself, to total non- existence?
•   Does this mean that if the notion of Necessary existence means anything it must actually mean “necessary self-existence” because it must somehow know itself to exist, as there is nothing else to distinguish the situation from total non-existence?


Any thoughts?


5
I confess to being rather shocked by WLC’s response #549 on Original Sin, especially in relation to a recent pod caste about not watering down the atonement.

Although I agree with him that you do not need to believe in this to be a Christian because ultimately being a follower of Christ is about receiving him personally, not having faith in some dogma; it is difficult not to be completely disappointed by his laisser-faire on the issue. For the doctrine of original sin is essential to a coherent Christian faith. i.e. this is something which any believer surely must eventually grow into affirmation of.

His defence of original sin as vicarious liability through reference to modern law misses the point of the question and misdirects, because this remains an exception. In law responsibility normally comes from a guilty act and a guilty mind. The explanation that original sin is transferable and “imputed” vicariously, is as lacking as an explanation of it as is the whipping boy (penal substitution) explanation of the atonement. In what sense can a transferred punishment make real restitution? Paying someone else’s debt clearly does, hitting/killing someone’s else superficially at least does not.

But the thing about original sin is that it is what makes Christ’s sacrificial atonement absolutely necessary – there was no other way offered after that prayer in the garden of gethsemane. Any view which waters down the absolute necessity of the sacrificial death of Christ is watering down the atonement.

But if original sin is not true then presumably it must have been possible for Jesus or some angel to have set up a closed community where young children are raised in perfection to create a people for the praise of God’s glory. He could have stayed on as the eternal overseer and guru.

My view is that the best way to understand original sin is based on the notion that sin essentially stems from being outside of God’s will. It is not that the car has broken down and will not go because of some internal fault, it will not go because its driven off the road into the sea. When adam left the garden of eden he left the immediate presence of God and so became immersed and wet through with sin. This immersion did not affect his original goodness i.e. it was not as if God would say the stuff he had originally declared good had now gone bad, it was just entirely marred or good stuff bent. Because Adam is now outside of God’s immediate will and immersed in the universe which is now also outside of God’s immediate will (i.e. the ground was also cursed), everything is now born and lives in and within the state of sin – it is entirely unavoidable naturally speaking. There is no pretence of vicarious imputation here, the dirt of this separation is absolutely real and everywhere – we are in it (separate from God in our mind and action) as soon as we are born. When English children are born they do not have their Englishness imputed to them vicariously as some kind of legal pretence – they are born in England. They are English because they are brought up in it, learn the language, eat the food, imbibe the culture. Although one might imagine setting up a holy German enclave within England, this is not naturally possible where sin and being outside the garden of eden is concerned because everything is outside, there is no natural way out of this for man. The only way to create this enclave would be if God re-invades, comes to seek and to save where we had wondered off to. To become Emmanuel God with us. And where we had wandered off to is separation from God (my God My God why hast though forsaken me) and in the end death. The atonement works through substitution, but the real one is not a crude whipping boy punishment but it is the Christ giving up heaven, coming to be where we are and he needs to do so by become incarnate and then dying; but because he has life within himself (while separated from the life giver) he is then able to offer new live “In him” to those who will receive him still.

6
Choose Your Own Topic / Bruce’s objection to the Kalam
« on: April 04, 2017, 11:02:58 am »
Bruce’s objection to the Kalam is based on a suggestion that there is an assumed equivocation over the notion of begins.

The first premise “Whatever begins to exist has a cause” is a basic restatement of the first and 2nd laws of thermodynamics and indeed our everyday experience.

To attack this on the basis of “begins” requires one to prove that the stuff of the universe (space time) does not “begin”. This notion of begin implies a change from state 1 to state 2. This is most often considered in terms of time, but because we know that time does not actually exist the reality behind the notion of begin is in fact “change”.

Bruce’s objection is based on the idea that space/energy/ matter is a brute necessary fact, which is frozen “until” change (time) starts to occur. It will continue to be a brute necessary fact even at heat death when no further change is possible because all the matter/energy/space will still be there. If space/matter were such a brute necessary fact then there is no ultimate beginning i.e. there is no pre state to the essence of a brute necessary fact, i.e. it just is and then it starts to change.

It would seem to me, given our normal experience of everyday life that you can’t get something natural for nothing natural, that this is not a proper explanation of existence, it seems more like an ad hoc, special pleading declaration of matter/space/energy being a brute and necessary fact. Comparatively this is atheists actively believing in matter/space/energy in the same kind of way that theists believe in God.

What would seem to be beholden on this objection is to give us:-
1.   Good reason to believe that there is no other realm from which change might come as clarity on why only one notion of begin is available, and therefore why the Kalam is guilty of a false equivocation around possible types of change in the face of our everyday experience that whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2.   Good reason why matter/space/energy fits the category or what you might expect of necessary and brute facts.

I do not believe that this will be possible because we can already prove that stuff other than space time exists:

Consider the formula

5x + 3x = 8x, where x <> “space/matter/energy/time”

By making the space time exclusion for x we highlight the fact that the formula’s pure logic stands above and apart from any particular x it might be describing. i.e. it is still true and useful in spite of the exclusion.

In response to point 1: This formula remains true and is eternally true. In otherwords we know there are realms other than space/ time from which change or beginnings might come. It is therefore more than probable that the emergence of space/time out of no space/time could derive from something non spacetime – and so therefore also more easily maintain the first and 2nd laws of thermodynamics on this side of the space/time divide. In relation to this I would also like to know why Bruce, CT, Neo extra refuse to imagine the possibility of anything non space time when the pure logic of maths already illustrates it as evidence. What I have found with them is that naturalism seems to be an absolute prejudice, and this is what I think is a significant driver to the equivocation claim, it only works on naturalism.

In response to point 2: The notion that energy is necessary given its inevitable change to a state of heat death when no further change is possible, seems rather weak given its useless end. It is therefore probably unlike what a necessary and brute fact would be like. What it is useful for is transitory, unlike the formula above which is always and eternally true.

Clearly a mind which can encompass and imagine the logic of a necessarily and eternally true formula manipulate it for other purposes and develop others would also have the element of active potential to initiate change as a first cause.

7
1.   Data indicates that the earth has naturally varied between hothouse and ice age during its history, i.e. these variations have occurred without human input.

2.   If the human race is to survive long term it must be able to survive/adapt to these variations long term.

3.   Survivability, is a matter of sustainability which implies adaptability.

4.   The current AGW debate seems to focus on emissions from economic and energy use models which are neither sustainable nor adaptable. 

5.   The AGW debate seem to ignore the basic point that if its conclusion is true then it is primarily driven by total population and the economic and energy use model which they are following. The detail of Emissions will be a side show in relation to this, it is a spec ignoring the elephants in the room.

6.   The brake which AGW seeks to put on emissions is swamped by the natural process of hothouse verses ice age and also the total population/economic/energy use, model - until it becomes both sustainable and adaptable. Assuming its true and it is properly applied the AGW brake will only make a marginal difference to the timing of any switch from current partial ice age (can’t remember the proper term) to hothouse. It really is something of a King Canute kind of thing.

7.   In the meantime AGW is missing the point of addressing issues of appropriate total world population, and the economic/ energy use model for maintaining very long term sustainability and adaptability of that population – we hear nothing of this. Of significance is whether this would be mainly top down enforcement or mainly ground up belief and buy in. i.e. big or small government.

8.   Some people think that a sustainable world population i.e. sustainable energy use (not mineral use – which would probably make it less) with people living at European standards would be about 2 billion (we are currently at 7). This probably does not take account of the adaptably required to respond to hothouse or ice age variations.

My view is this has very big implication for the catholic church in terms of birth control – their position is demonstrably unsustainable. But also implications for the distribution of resources to obtain responsible buy in to sustainability i.e. on the basis that even a dog does not normally soil its own bed. The biblical distribution of the land and resource to the tribes of Israel becomes a significant and enlightened broad pattern.

Any thoughts.

8
Choose Your Own Topic / Can anybody help? Communication issues
« on: December 23, 2016, 07:00:07 am »
Dear all

I recently came across a situation where an acquaintance (who is a woman and which might be relevant) admitted to me that broadly speaking she interprets what people/I say “literally” if possible/reasonable.

I was profoundly shocked by this admission because it made me think that they might have misunderstood everything that I ever said to them. This is not because I never try to be clear and literal where I can but because I find it so difficult to find the right words/metaphors/figures of speech and sometimes you must at least say something. The BFG’s idea of gubblefunking comes to mind “what I means and what I says might be two completely different things”. Or more biblically the holy spirt groaning when we do not know what to pray.

The other shock about this is
1.   I would have thought this was an affliction common to all men.
2.   As a result the golden rule applies, and it is ungracious and ungenerous not to give the benefit of such.

The problem with this acquaintance then was that instead of trying to interpret the whole me, - context, words spoken, likely purpose – and does the whole thing then make sense/ could it be justified/ is it true; they are saying that their base approach is focused entirely on the coherence of the words spoken (and not me) and their own understanding of justified from their own context.

Although I do not actually believe this admission by the acquaintance, as reflective of what they do all the time, for even biblical literalists admit parables and figures of speech – it seems to be a poor excuse for not, by default, giving the grace which they in turn would/must hope for from others. For who can ever admit to precise objective expression and understanding of those expressions, except for where technical science can apply or over the simplest interpersonal interactions.

This kind of thing is also relevant to where I work. I take calls from customer/members on what has become quite a technical/complicated subject. It is often the case these people are using the wrong words and are asking the wrong thing for what they actually want. I pick this up from listening to/an analysis of: - context, word spoken, likely purpose and does it make sense for what I understand of their situation. I then re interpret their intension into the correct/better words and try to service them with all the information I think I would need if I were them. (Although this sometimes confuses them if I am then running ahead of their thinking) It is also important to do this without prejudice i.e. professionally, even if you know the person is a right old whatsit.

So my question for your help is; what is your experience and view of this?

I know that the adversarial nature of both politics and this blog might demand more precision and indeed to my mind some bloggers seem to rely on this kind of precision to avoid the greater meanings.

But in normal relations am I right to be hurt or offended by this admission which seems to me to be just an admission of bad manners and a lack of golden rule grace, focusing on just the words and what they mean to the listener – rather than the broader picture of what the other person is trying to communicate. Actually this is worse than bad manners because by taking this approach potentially easily entrenches misunderstanding upon misunderstanding without looking up. Its seems to me to be an attitude of the whole world revolving around the supposed listener who demands from the communicator that meaning is presented in the listeners words, meaning and context, and which listener is not ready to tango over the matter.

It is often said that the American’s and British are separated by their use of the same language – but this issue raises this point to a new level. It seems I might as well be an alien to this acquaintance and frankly I am at a complete loss at where to go on it other than try to assert the above points which are not up for debate because they seem to me to be the only thing which allow any debate/proper communication in the first place.

Thanks for anybody's time in advance.




9
Dear all

For your consideration. An argument firmly grounded in the "natural" science of the laws of thermodynamics.

1.   This argument is about all that is natural i.e. all of space/time – called the Universe.
2.   The 2nd law indicates that energy always moves from the useful to the dissipated.
3.   any closed “natural” system i.e. the Universe will therefore eventually ends in heat death with no further energy transfer possible and when no further change happens.
4.   There could not therefore have been an infinite past (i.e. it was always here) to said natural system, otherwise we would already be at heat death.
5.   Therefore the natural universe has a beginning.
6.   The 1st law, the conservation of energy indicates that naturally speaking you can’t get something for nothing, energy can nether be created or destroyed, it just moves from one form to another.
7.   The fact of the beginning of existence of natural energy (4&5.) which cannot naturally be created or destroyed (6.) therefore begs a supernatural cause; no other explanation is reasonable.



10
To Jason

Re Reservation about the ontological argument #440

I do not think that WLC deals with the substance of your query in his reply at all, even though he dissects the question between coherence and logical possibility and the reliability of our modal intuitions.

The essence of the problem and which is what I think you are getting at is the problem of our observation not our intuition, we know of no other worlds apart from this time/space one, and the spiritual one encompassed by the logic of our minds. As per your examples we are not therefore in a position to imagine into life phoenixes or bench pressing 70000kg because we are not creators. We therefore do not know what is and isn’t possible for a creator. Talk of other worlds is therefore meaningless and to project or create some vague idea of an MGB and to then try and justify it, is just as meaningless and puts the cart before the horse.

Proper arguments for the existence of God start with real pre created evidence; the conservation of energy, the logic of maths, objective morality, and then works out that a first cause creator would seem to be a necessary precursor to that evidence in order to best explain it. If natural energy is conserved how can it appear in the first place?

As far as I am concerned the ontological argument is something of an exercise in idolatry, imagining an MGB into the place of the creator God. The fact that the ontological argument in reality fails as you suspect, is I think actually good for belief in a proper real God.

Edit
On objective morality I suppose I mean the need for it to make sense of our real notions of justice which we play out in courtrooms etc

11
Choose Your Own Topic / Its a Joke
« on: May 22, 2015, 06:58:32 am »
Ok

There were these four friendly fanatics, a Muslim, an Atheist, a Calvinist and a Buddhist who went to a bar/restaurant (why does it always have to be a bar?) for a friendly if fractious evening; in part to finally settle once and for all their on-going disagreement about religion. After a few stiff drinks and while still awaiting their starters, their discussion acknowledged that blogging on Reasonable faith would not necessarily get them anywhere as no-one listens much, so they instead decide to use the more reliable method of divining the remains of the margarine  dish! (They had had bread served to them while they waited)

After a quick prayer, the Muslim goes first. He peers into the remains on the dish and then cries in remorse, I see the face of Jesus and he is saying that God even loves the unbeliever, for while you were still sinners I died for all who would receive me or one of my witnesses.

Then the Atheist has a go. He takes a close look and then declares that he reluctantly agrees, it’s the face of Jesus, and that it was of course more likely to be his face than Dawkin’s, and that the pattern in the margarine must after all have been designed.

The Calvinist now supremely assured (what’s new) takes a look, but his face is then cast down for while it is still the face of Jesus, for him it says that divine foreknowledge from outside of created time is what enables freewill, and that a just judgement or meaningful relationship is not possible without establishing this freewill responsibility.

Finally, and with not much hope after the consistency of the vision obtained by the other 3, the Buddhist peers into the margarine dish, even re-tasting some of it around the edge and then declares…..

 “I just can’t believe it’s not Buddha!”









(Note clearly this will not even start to work for anyone who has not seen the advert)

12
Choose Your Own Topic / Europe's House Divided - book review/recommendation
« on: February 25, 2015, 08:22:24 am »
I am currently reading a History of the reformation “Europe's House Divided" by Diarmaid MacCulloch which I would recommend to anyone wondering about the historical derivation of protestant belief. I haven’t finished it yet (about half way through)

The following things have struck me so far.

•   Assuming its “accurate” the amount of disparate historical material from all over Europe the author must have strung together to create this narrative must be enormous, and my respect goes out to him.

•   The problem of the narrative itself. I am constantly worrying just how he can assert different things. But I imagine exhaustive referencing of original sources including a discussion on how he then interprets it thus would make it unreadable. His reasonable extensive list of sources does not intrude on the main text and does not answer these worries unless you get the item referenced. I am left taking him on trust.

•   His presentation so far seems neutral apart from his mindless reference to the British Isles as the Atlantic Isles to avoid offending “someone”. This is pure PC and an unforgivable ignorance of the meaning and derivation of the name Briton for a historian, and he has certainly offended me as a result. So far this has not undermined my general trust in what he is writing though, which retains a neutral flavour.

•   The reformation was a total mess and all the resulting main churches, (Lutheran, Reformed, Catholic, CofE) were caught up with too much politics and power play, and rose tinted protestant church histories suggesting this as a kind of pure outpouring of the “Holy Spirit” revival are to be mistrusted. There is every reason to think that there is unfinished business about Christian belief here, and the current difficulties of the church must be a part of this.

13
Choose Your Own Topic / WLC inconsistent in his Molinism
« on: February 19, 2015, 11:18:47 am »
I believe that WLC is not being consistent with his Molinism from this quote from his recent Q&A 409# article.

“If her parents had decided not to travel on this flight because of a dream, then God’s plan would have taken a different course.”

In Molinisitic terms there is no alternative “If her parents had decided not to travel”, the correct Molinistic response is surely that God knew what they would choose in a given set of circumstances, along with all other decisions, and God has determined the circumstances of the world he would actuate to create the best possible result in relation to his purpose. The result is that these people died in this air crash.

This is not a direct determination because it does also depend upon the innately known pre disposition or so called choice of these people, but there is no alternative “If” and therefore no real choice for this pre-disposition is in fact set or known before the beginning of the world (sans creation).  It may not be direct determination however it is in fact an indirect determination.

I am glad however that WLC used the language of the B series as if God were responding in time and they did have a real choice and therefore “actively” responds and works with us to make all things to the good for those in Christ Jesus. His article was therefore pretty good from a pastoral point of view.

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Choose Your Own Topic / To WLC's biggest fan Adam - re QA 407
« on: February 04, 2015, 09:52:54 am »
Adam

The Holy Spirit will witness with your own (see Romans ch8), when you finally; shut up, stop talking and instead actively “realise” (in the same way that WLC has suggested you actively listen to music) that the reason by which you have come to hate atheism and indeed honour WLC is in fact “God given”. “Come let us reason together” says God in Isaiah. God is already closer than you think! Its not so much that he is right at the end of your nose, he is even upholding it, it takes a bit of quietness to hear this still small voice though.

Just the very act of honouring WLC as you have done means that you have received one of God’s messengers on the basis of his being one of Jesus’s brothers as a messenger or witness. See Matthew ch10. That makes you at least a sheep already; see also the parable of the sheep and the goats and these brothers of mine.

The issue of what to believe, moving onto discipleship, is instead one of which religious narrative makes most sense of the created world. Christianity stands at the top of the pile because its “possible” reasons both for existence, the fall, and the resolution of that on the lines that it would have been impossible for God to make heaven straight off because to get freewill into heaven you actually have to ask those freewill creatures if they want to be there.

The problem for Christianity is that it has not really properly completed this narrative. The reformation was a dud in this regard and we are still living in its messy and incoherent train. Yes WLC represents the best of the current “mainstream” but his molinism still doesn’t really work either. But keep on seeking and you will find and move on from being a sheep to an understanding disciple, but remember you might need to seek more quietly than too many shouted questions for it is actually a subtle change of view which notices the still small voice of a God who is already right next to you, upholding and encouraging all that is good.

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To the lost Swede

Hope you don’t mind be adding my two pennies worth.

The question is; what can you do now on earth which you might continue to do in heaven? for that would be the beginnings of a true purpose. The idea therefore that the purpose of life is just to tell others about Jesus as saviour does not work, for you will not need to do this in heaven for everybody there will already know him from this angle.

One key Bible verse in relation to this is from the end of the book of Revelation, where it says that the glory of the kings of the earth will be brought in to heaven. What then is the glory of the kings of the earth? Is it not all the best bits and the good stuff on earth, the best clothes, education, adventures, gardens, landscapes, travel, the patronage of art, music and the sciences; the construction of all that is beautiful, inheritance and continuity.

If you knew you had an eternity before you, with an adequate share of resource just what would you do? The options and opportunities become nearly limitless as long as you continue to pay heed to a number of structural fundamentals (the law of God). Those fundamentals are to remain sustainably in tune with the basic rule by which the universe is set up, so that your plans neither hurt the balance of creation nor those who are likewise engaged alongside you.

In the here and now, these pursuits of kings are not open to many, for this inheritance has been stolen from most of us, and most of us remain slaves to the system of these few. However even in our wage slavery it is possible to practice living in a way which references and checks the fundamentals, or to put this in more biblical terms learn to live with reference to and in conversation with the Holy Spirit, so that we are ready for action when our inheritance does eventually comes to us. If we are faithful with this small aspect now available to us, we will then be rewarded with much more.

So then lost Swede, do whatever you can that is decent and honest, follow your interests and loves for these are part of who you are. Have the confidence to; follow, develop and grow them for this is the God given pattern of the growing universe. Try to perceive that with God, even the most basic and mundane aspects of life things are not just “merely and meaningless”. It is like the spirit of Christmas pervading every day and every place, there is a story and a sparkle behind the scenes, there really is a heavenly host cheering you on, but you have to as WLC (and Bono) say, start believing it first before you can practice seeing it. If you are scrooge and humbug to it then you will just miss it. A significant part of that sparkle is being able to as such share and enjoy the secret with others. Some of that is like the rhythm and relationship of a dance where partners move apart in individual freedom, growth and development, and mystery increases, and then come together again obtaining full re-assurance and satisfaction especially reconfirming that the fundamental structure remains in tack. That is, the fact that you are in fact still doing the same kind of dance in spite of your individual flourishes, and it will be the study of those new individual flourishes which will provide new interest and probably also something to laugh at. (The point of the basic gospel is of course to reconnect man to that basic structure, because he has wandered away from and out of tune with it, in the fall)

The fact that none of this physical “stuff” that we might plan to do will last for ever, does not affect the fact that your experience, knowledge, joy, love and practice of it does, the bigger story you are writing with your life and which is the essence of yourself is therefore ready to be brought into each new physical recreation. And that story will become a weight of glory, a crown, which you will always be ready to cast at the saviours feet glorifying him, and he will constantly be picking it up again and giving it back, interested in and maybe making suggestions about what you will do and enjoy next.

Heaven will be great and the meaning and purpose of your life is to start practicing for it now. This can be practiced even in the most restricted circumstances, for as Brother Lawrence had it, you can even stoop down to pick up a straw from the kitchen floor to a heavenly fanfare.

I hope this helps.

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