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In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 10:06:40 BDT
Jim Guest says:
So do trinitarians, but that doesn't stop them lying en masse.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 10:19:04 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Apr 2012 10:19:59 BDT
Drew Jones says:
"I've read stranger things in physics than in the bible"
The ideas within physics are harder to get your head around, they run counter to our intuition but I don't think they are stranger than some of the stuff in the Bible. Revelations alone is an acid trip through the afterlife. Chanting six-winged animal-like creatures covered in eyes is pretty off the wall, even (or especially) if taken as a metaphor!

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 10:50:28 BDT
In physics, there are an infinite number of me's writing this. I can also be in two places at the same time, and... I can travel through time (should I ever get hold of the right amount of energy). And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/6546462/The-10-weirdest-physics-facts-from-relativity-to-quantum-physics.html

http://listverse.com/2010/11/04/10-strange-things-about-the-universe/

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 10:56:39 BDT
Drew Jones says:
Those are highly speculative hypothesis, the Bible isn't held to be so tentative and it has a talking donkey.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 11:02:01 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Apr 2012 11:02:42 BDT
haha parrots talk! why not donkeys? Hebrew is an easy language for equines.

So if we make a concrete fact, we can say the following.

Physics has some truth, but also some highly speculative hypothesis.
The bible has some truth, but also some highly speculative hypothesis.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 11:15:17 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Apr 2012 11:19:54 BDT
Drew Jones says:
"haha parrots talk! why not donkeys? Hebrew is an easy language for equines."
Accomodationist logic at it's best!

"Physics has some truth, but also some highly speculative hypothesis.
The bible has some truth, but also some highly speculative hypothesis."
We can say this, it would be genrally accurate but virually useless given how it prompts the question of what is the speculative bits and how speculative is it, is it essentually being rendered mundane with lots of nonsense thrown on top. I fear there'd would also be rather serious implications for some organisations more than others.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 20:26:08 BDT
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In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 20:27:56 BDT
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In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 20:30:18 BDT
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Posted on 30 Apr 2012 20:35:50 BDT
Spin says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2012 22:48:15 BDT
Drew Jones says:
It's just something in the Bible that's weird. You can take it, leave it or interpret it but it's still there, it's still weird and you can't blame that on fundamentalism for it - only the Bible writers or the sort of times the Bible writers lived in.

And fundamentalists may take it *all* literally but it's not as if relative moderates don't take much of the highly dubious aspects at face value and insist upon them. I don't think some one who has the pretence that the Bible should be read with great sophistication, modern insight and interpretation but by that interpretation still holds to the miraculous/incredible bits can't really complain about someone going into the Old Testament to do the same.

Posted on 1 May 2012 03:04:41 BDT
Tom M says:
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In reply to an earlier post on 1 May 2012 06:07:43 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 May 2012 06:22:36 BDT
Drew Jones says:
"What on earth is wrong or impossible about miracles?"
Well, scientifically it is by definition a singular event that goes against the established laws of nature as we understand them therefore it is at best an unknown rather than an explaination. Theologically it is inconsistent with the idea that order is what points to there being a creator God holding everything in place. When you can say both order = God, and diversions from order = God then you don't really have a hypothesis but a proclivity to insist upon God either way.

"Has someone come up with an understanding of matter?"
It depends what you mean by understand. We have developed descriptive laws concerning the natural world. We don't know it all but neither is everything a great mystery we need to invoke an anthropomorphic agent to explain.

"Has this matter been shown to be free of final causes and not to be ordered towards complextity anc consciousness and intelligent moral agency?"
That you detect relative order, complexity, consciousness, morality and intelligence in this universe doesn't mean that there is a greater standard willing these things onwards and upwards. In fact it's you that insist ther to be a greater standard of all these things we could never reach, if God is the one guiding and inspiring all these things then by your own reckoning He can only take us so far.

For me, we live in a far more complex, moral and intelligent society than they did 1000 years ago, did God put more effort in in that time? I can believe so. Are these things that increase over time due to more natural pressures, I have to go with this option. They are essentially value judgements you hold to consider to be objectively measuring that are easier to bend to your own ends if trying to make a theological argument, that's why we find you dealing with these things not because they show God to be logically necessacery because they don't.

"Is love and duty a thing repugnant morally and to be eschewed for material gain and riches?"
Love and duty are conceptually good, greed is not. I don't see this as much of an argument but more a truism that thinks itself an argument or relevant because it comes from someone who thinks love and duty - therefore God and imagines themselves to have just proved something more than love and duty are considered to be more morally noble than greed.

"Has an infintite series of conditioned causes been shown to be rationally credible?"
Theism would have us think so, God is infinitely capable isn't He? If an infinite series of conditioned causes is impossible then it's impossible for Him to exercise His powers and He is curtailed by your own argument.

"Has the simple proven to be bounded after all?"
By your own reckoning, yes. And the definition of simple would have to include the idea of it being bounded at least to the degree that it can be over taken by something that is relatively complex otherwise each word is rendered useless. Take Kenny's example that you are already taken with, the razor blade, it's simple - by itself it is bound, more bound in every consideration than the electric shaver. That's what earns it the label simple in the comparison.

"Have the miracles at Lourdes or the miracle at Fatima found natural explanations?"
Yes, remission and delusions. For the numbers you will quote at being at Fatima you have to remember that there is only one Sun and it's regularly visible to more than 70,000 people at a time. People within the town of Fatima my have claimed to have seen the Sun move out of it's orbit but no one else did. The heliocentrism and understanding of gravitational pull we have developed over the centuries and was officially accepted some years later by the same church condoning and promoting this idea tells us that it would have been more probable for the Earth to have been moved off it orbital pathway towards the Sun, has this possibility been looked into by the church or is it only considered a throwback to the time we imagined everything else in the heavens moved except us?

"Has the analysis if visitors and remissions explained why the miracles occur when the body of Christ is raised in procession?"
The officially recognised healings vs. the visitor numbers to Lourdes are weaker than expected natural remissions. Beyond that the placebo effect we understand can explain the positive feedback people have in going there. We know people that put in time, money and effort are more likely to report their actions as meaningful. There's no great mystery for me, sick people don't want to be sick, even healthy people don't want sick people to be sick, we all want to feel as if we can do something about it and Catholics want to credit God with anything they perceive as good, Lourdes provides an opportunity for all these desires to be comforted.

"And why it is that the people cured are NOT praying for themselves typically?"
As a theist who subscribes to the ideas of theological conventions as important this is something you'd have to wrestle with not me.

"And here , having reviewed "The Grand Design" I thought modern cosmology and physics had turned into highly entertaining theatre of the absurd."
You have quite mixed feelings about physics. One minute it's terrible because it doesn't allow much space for God (Stenger, Hawkings, Krauss) the next it's great because it actively supports(the right) God (Rizzi, Spitzer). There doesn't seem to be an evaluation that concentrates on the value of truth or evidence produced but on how useful they are to maintaining your theological beliefs and assumptions.

"I must have missed some really good courses somewhere."
Well that's a given!

In reply to an earlier post on 1 May 2012 08:27:49 BDT
C. A. Small says:
Which Michael Grant book?

In reply to an earlier post on 1 May 2012 10:17:34 BDT
AJ Murray says:
T. Woodman,

-"Clearly your presentation of the facts is incorrect to what reputable historians such as Michael Grant says."

Clearly! Obviously! You have yet to give us any facts, nevermind 'observed facts', that would support you beliefs. In place of that, your continued use of the 'nuh-uh!' defence is running rather thin.

-"The attribution of dishonesty to your opponents is always a sign of a poor argument."

Well that would explain your last post were you did exactly that! Do you even know how to construct an argument Mr Woodman?

In reply to an earlier post on 3 May 2012 16:44:51 BDT
Last edited by the author on 3 May 2012 16:49:29 BDT
In a book written over a period of 3000 years and confessedly consisting sometimes of allegory, parable, vision, and so on it is not surprising that not all parts of it are to be interpreted literally. The NT began the practice of interpreting OT metaphorically at times. What are the bits of the NT that are so incredible in the way I interpret them-- since I appear to be the 'someone' to which you refer?.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 May 2012 16:46:48 BDT
Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 May 2012 16:48:42 BDT
What is the 'nuh-uh' defence? It would also be a nice change if there were a post from you that was not personal abuse.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 May 2012 17:13:35 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 May 2012 09:18:19 BDT
Drew Jones says:
I don't think it's surprising that in a book so large and wide ranging there are many genres and parts of the Bible that are more poetic or metaphical, what I find interesting is the bits that are held to be metaphorical, have become metaphorical, are in dispute as to how metaphorical they are or if they are metaphorical at all, the diversity of what they represent metaphorically and what pressures maybe causing them to now be considered metaphorical.

Well one example I can think of is turning the molecules of water into wine would be just as unlikely as a donkey's larynxcal set up modifing itself and being able to produce speech as a human would understand it. I don't know how you can suggest that one phenomena is more credible that the other when they are both so incredible and meant to both impress and represent great power at play.

For me, I have to say that when dealing with those sort of things but also being willing to accept the non-mundane idea that a man/god overcame death and will be extending the same benefit to you if only you can believe such a thing, that it is the point at which I can no longer form a consistent standard by which I can separate the incredible that is meant to be accepted as actual fact as it appears and that which offers an 'other' insight or truth indirectly via metaphor and no one who does claim to be able to do so has been able to lay out the method in which they do so without telling me it's obvious or something done on faith.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 May 2012 18:34:17 BDT
C. A. Small says:
Not yet.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 May 2012 09:15:55 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 May 2012 09:16:31 BDT
AJ Murray says:
T. Woodman,

-"What is the 'nuh-uh' defence?"

That would be when you continue with making statements when they have been shown to be either mistaken, fallacious or just downright wrong. You have never quite managed to support any of the claims that you suppose to inform your belief. You have made great play of the reliability of the Gospel narratives, yet when the historical method fails to deliver the verdict of Jesus being divine, and are presented with similar claims with better supporting evidence you dismiss them out of hand. As i said, it is running thin.

-"It would also be a nice change if there were a post from you that was not personal abuse."

Not one of my posts to you contains personal abuse. Criticism of your statements and pointing out the lack of any supporting argument doesn't constitute personal abuse. If you are unable to distinguish between the two, that is your failing, not mine.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 May 2012 09:43:03 BDT
C. A. Small says:
AJ- I think he is confusing us. I stated he was dishonest for extrapolating the "Jesus existed" ( probably true)to "Jesus was the son of god" stuff( total drivel). He took umbrage at that although I still assert it is dishonest the way theists take one bit of evidence then use that to shoehorn other stuff into the conclusion.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 May 2012 09:58:47 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 May 2012 09:59:25 BDT
AJ Murray says:
Possibly, but he it is intellectually dishonest to make a claim for 'observed facts' about Jesus when what he actually has are a series of evangelical stories written some 40-80 years after the events by people who were not present. He is engaged in special pleading when he dismisses other similar testimony such as the Mormon and Islamic claims which are from contemporary sources which have greater veracity than the Gospel narratives.

What we appear to be seeing is a process where the belief and absolute conviction comes first and what little evidence there is is tacked on as an afterthought, yet when presenting this to someone who is not a believer, he is attempting to use the afterthought as if it were the primary reasoning for his belief.

If it wasn't convincing for him and wasn't used, why would he think it would convince anyone else?

In reply to an earlier post on 4 May 2012 19:42:45 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 May 2012 19:57:30 BDT
Yes, Drew, I quite agree that it can be difficult and is not an exact science. How could it be? However, I have pointed out many times that there are central mainstream traditions --admittedly they change, but that is all for the better, for what can be literal and what not. Today we have fundamentalists, conservatives and liberals, and I am in the latter category, but there are plenty more of us, and the majority of academic theologians are I suspect in that category including oddly enough in biblical theology the present Pope. I personally believe the water into wine miracle is not literally true> I believe it is either an embroidered story of something good that Jesus did at a wedding feast or a symbolic story, since wine and water as you know are highly symbolic things. I have not looked up what exegetes and theologians do say about this, and I may take the time to do so later out of interest, but my instinct is not to believe it literally at all. For me -- from a theological perspective-- it means that the presence of Jesus makes water taste like wine, but perhaps this is just my idea inspired by your question. I do not take any of the -- shall we say-- interventions in the order of nature stories literally, with the caveat that human beings may perhaps have paranormal powers on certain occasions. However the evidence that Jesus had charismatic healing powers --although the healings could have been produced by suggestion etc-- seems undeniable since it is also stated by Jewish anti-Christian writers who attribute them to magic. But there were various other itinerant healers testified to at the time and indeed as one poster says we have them around today too and some healings do occur even if only by natural causes. On the Resurrection I certainly do believe that Jesus is risen from the dead and can be accessed now. I don't believe that this has to be recussitation in the literal sense, however, and at any rate it is far more than recussitation. How we interpret the nature of Christ's risen body is the crucial point as to how supernaturalist/naturalistic all this is.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 May 2012 19:54:26 BDT
CA and Aj Murray -- I don't want to interrupt your cosy whispering conversation about me, but as CA seems perhaps to be realising and AJ not you have both misrepresented my argument. You both began by calling the whole thing fairy stories. I then pointed out the considerable historical evidence of facts about Jesus Christ-- accepted by atheist, Jewish and other historians. That part is clearly not a fairy story -- I can list such agreed facts and historically probable facts if you wish in more detail. At no stage did I say those facts in themselves proved Jesus to be the Son of God (quote me where I did if you can). The next stage in the argument would then be to look at the character of Jesus from the definite and probable historical facts that we do have.
On Mormonism AJ you have not been able to answer my question about how it can possibly be believed that in the late 19th C thse 3 witnesses who later left the Mormon church did see the angel Mormon descend from heaven with a book, show them it, though not the actual writing and then ascend again to heaven. (In the Bible angels are a device for messages from God, and heaven up there literally believed at the time of writing. It can hardly be literally true in the 19th C, yet the whole case rests on that.
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  32
Total posts:  697
Initial post:  29 Feb 2012
Latest post:  14 Jun 2012

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