Harvey

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On John Loftus and William Lane Craig's Q&A
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2007, 09:13:44 am »

John W. Loftus wrote: If God is omniscient, then admitting God revealed himself in a poor way is evidence that God is not as smart as an omniscient being should be... It is definitely a poor way to reveal himself, if he wants us to believe as the Bible claims. Did you read the kind of evidence that an omniscient being, who wanted us to believe, could've provided? Again, these things are obvious

The problem I have with this argument, along with the argument in the blog, is that it assumes a certain kind of God. It strikes me as a very fundamentalist perspective of reality. Did you by chance come from Christianity as a fundamentalist? I've had the opportunity to debate with many atheists who come from fundamentalist backgrounds, and this has caused me to see fundamentalism as more of a weakness than a strength. When biblical literacy is finally seen for what it is, a faulty belief system, it seems those folks who grasped onto the literacy as their faith are those who are most susceptible to become angry with God and maybe even deny God's existence (I've seen this up close, so I feel as though I talk with some experience).

In any case, if one looks upon the scriptures in the manner in which I believe they were written, as never having meant to be considered literally for the most part, then your arguments fade away. The Hebrews and even the early Christians were intent on providing deeper truths through the scriptures, and that's why particular writers rose to prominence. Unfortunately, those folks who so much rejected the non-literalist perspective as Christians, are no less willing to accept it as they move away from their faulty literalism. And, as a result, they walk away from Christianity bitter or feeling duped.

In order for this argument to appeal to me, you'd have to show me how these deeper truths of scripture are false. However, this is a much more difficult task since I think that you'd even agree with some of the deeper truths of scripture. Some of the deeper truths are very philosophical, and therefore they bring us into confronting philosophical arguments. These are not the kind of truths that scientists deal with. It would be fool-hardy for a scientist to grapple with a philosophical argument.

It's through the deepness of these arguments that the truths of Christianity emerge. This is why most of us liberal Christians remain Christians and do not simply walk away from the faith. (Of course, literalism is mostly a recent phenomenon compared to the time since Christianity emerged, so this non-literalist stance is not really a reaction to literalism as it is the other way around.)

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mbw@hawaii.edu

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On John Loftus and William Lane Craig's Q&A
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2007, 05:06:39 pm »
Hi John,

   

   I don't know if you remember, but we talked for a bit in one of those "debate response" forums at theologyweb on the problem of evil.  It was a pleasure doing so, and I am happy to see that this discussion has for the most part been carried out in a civil manner.

   

   I suppose I just don't see where the teeth are in this argument from non-belief.  Since John 7:16-17 (along with other verses) implies that all sincere seekers after truth will in fact have the truth revealed to them, the argument would have to stipulate that God would probably reveal the truth to people who didn't want it anyway.  Is there really any reason to suppose that that is true?

   

   However, perhaps it is the case that God would reveal the truth to everyone.  Can the Christian not at this point simply say "Okay. I guess God does reveal the truth to everyone at some point"?  I don't see what precludes that idea, since someone can know propositional truth without being a Christian.  I'd be curious to see what you think.

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Drm970

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On John Loftus and William Lane Craig's Q&A
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2007, 07:07:57 pm »
Gone so soon, John? I apologize for not giving you due charity, but you really should expound upon the points you are trying to make, lest you appear to be just your average, philosophically uneducated skeptic.

The genetic fallacy again, eh? I've responded already. And you clearly have not read the chapter in my book on this, for this fact does indeed lead to some serious reservations about religious faiths.


It does lead to serious reservations, no doubt. They cannot be logical, however. I have not read your book, nor do I plan to do so any time soon. Perhaps when I'm done reading the works of professionals. I'm sure it's interesting, John, but I simply have other books that require my attention. You could, perhaps, explain what your book claims. Although perhaps this is only a marketing pitch, responding to us here?

This response of your fails to understand the problem.


No, it doesn't. Granted it only addresses one prong of the double burden of proof, but I understand the problem perfectly.

Then it's question begging to seek out a doctor rather than to merely pray, too. It's based upon how science proceeds and how scientifically literate people judge the claims of superstitious people even in our own world.


Undue prejudice, John, and a complete skewing of the issue. This is why I was so quick to judge you, Johnny-boy. If we make appeals to science, while accepting methodological naturalism, we are begging the question. It's easy to see. You can't appeal to naturalism in order to prove naturalism. This is similar to:

Bob: God exists!
Sally: Why do you believe that?
Bob: Because he does!

Perhaps the person who merely prays instead of visiting the doctor is irrational. I would accept that, since I'm not a Christian and am not a believer in the power of prayer. However, in arguing against prayer I cannot say that I don't believe in it because science has provided no evidence for it. If I accept methodological naturalism, science cannot possibly accept it as an explanation. Science assumes no supernatural explanations. I cannot appeal to science because science simply assumes what I think is true. It is question begging in a way that your example doesn't challenge. It's quite easy to see, and your glib response challenges my reply not at all.

It has a lot to do with whether I and others can believe it.

If this is the kind of response Weaver thinks answers me, then this is barely high school stuff, and I'm out of here. I develop each of these bases for my control beliefs in separate chapters of my book. Check it out. Norman Geisler said my book was "intellectually challenging."


I know it has a lot to do with whether you can believe it, John, but that's just an epistemic and moral problem. You're right in pointing out that it's merely high school stuff. I agree completely. However, the difference is that I see that it's an entirely adequate answer. Thus a high schooler could point out the flaws in your reasoning. I don't mean that as a personal attack, per se. Like I've said elsewhere, the most brilliant men in history have made horrendously obvious errors. I just hope you correct yours, John. I'm open to you correcting mine. I'm happy for you that Geisler has said nice things about your book. It feels good to get that sort of validation. However, as I stated before, it will take a while to get around to it.

Best of luck with your book sales.

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John W. Loftus

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On John Loftus and William Lane Craig's Q&A
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2007, 05:33:09 pm »

mbw@hawaii.edu wrote: Hi John,
I suppose I just don't see where the teeth are in this argument from non-belief. Since John 7:16-17 (along with other verses) implies that all sincere seekers after truth will in fact have the truth revealed to them...

I'll briefly respond to you, as you seem reasonable, and leave again if someone wants to mischaracterize and gerrymander what I've said by presupposing I don't know what I'm talking about and that all I want to do is sell my book. It's only with great reserve that I can even think about responding to arrogant idiots like that no matter what they believe, especially if they like to play the devil's advocate, an Uncle Tom, so to speak.

What you do is presuppose the truth of the Bible, in this case John 7, and with that presupposition you seek to explain away the evidence of billions of people who claim to be sincere non-Christians. I would rather follow the evidence and deny the truth of the Bible here. You claim you have evidence for the truth of the Bible that which would be considered "background knowledge," while I deny your "background knowledge" on other grounds. Still on this particular issue you'd have to deny a whole lot of evidence (billions of people) to continue believing the Bible on this point.

Cheers.



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Drm970

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On John Loftus and William Lane Craig's Q&A
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2007, 06:39:27 pm »
Oh, John, but you did just respond to me. Why do you pretend I'm not here while calling me an arrogant idiot and a devil's advocate? You fail to answer me on every response I give, offering merely a glib response, or pointing to your book, and you expect me not to question your understanding and not to believe you're just trying to promote your book? The principle of charity only goes so far. Sure, I have a barely concealed contempt for your reasoning, because what I've seen of it appears to me to be horrible. I even gave you the benefit of the doubt and visited your debunking blog.

Far from being a devil's advocate, I merely have fewer quarrels with Christians than I do with you and yours.

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Harvey

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On John Loftus and William Lane Craig's Q&A
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2007, 12:52:23 am »

Drm970 wrote: Oh, John, but you did just respond to me. Why do you pretend I'm not here while calling me an arrogant idiot and a devil's advocate? You fail to answer me on every response I give, offering merely a glib response, or pointing to your book, and you expect me not to question your understanding and not to believe you're just trying to promote your book? The principle of charity only goes so far. Sure, I have a barely concealed contempt for your reasoning, because what I've seen of it appears to me to be horrible. I even gave you the benefit of the doubt and visited your debunking blog.

Far from being a devil's advocate, I merely have fewer quarrels with Christians than I do with you and yours.

Drm970, sometimes people have other agendas than to have fun and have stimulating discussions. I see your points, and I think they are very fair coming from a non-Christian.

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Drm970

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On John Loftus and William Lane Craig's Q&A
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2007, 02:46:10 am »
Drm970, sometimes people have other agendas than to have fun and have stimulating discussions. I see your points, and I think they are very fair coming from a non-Christian.


Thanks, Harvey. That is, if your second sentence was still directed at me.

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Daniel Pech

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On John Loftus and William Lane Craig's Q&A
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2007, 09:33:56 pm »

It seems to me that if Loftus assumes that he knows just what to expect from God, then Loftus not only has a natural God-concept, Loftus fails to account for the actual evil human world (including human intellectual pride) which such a God would be right to judge.

Believing it to be the most profound game, a man blindly thinks he pits himself against Mother Nature at Checkers, only to find, too late, that She has been playing him at Chess.

Mothers don't go on strike:  http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1631277/posts