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God Does Not Exist Because. . . (2)

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In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2010 19:59:24 GMT
Neutral says:
Spin

Wrong again. I can only presume either that (1) you have never read Neutral's posts; (2) if you have read them you haven't understood them; (3) you're brainless. Of course it's possible because you're in a spin that you can't see things straight but "brainless" and "fatuous" seems more appropriate.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2010 22:44:02 GMT
Neutral
Just love the wording here. I must say I really enjoy reading Neutral's posts.
'Half baked conclusions and pseudo-babble.' - just brilliant.
When will your book be ready? I can hardly wait.
By the way, is it Neurtal's book or yours?

Posted on 19 Nov 2010 22:47:15 GMT
"My freedom comes from being in a somewhat chaotic universe that allows for many paths for me to take but makes no demands itself on which I follow."...

... said the serial killer to the serial rapist.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2010 22:57:20 GMT
Neutral says
'Of course it's possible because you're in a spin..'
Haaaaaahaaaaaaaaa
What a way with words you have. Your posts really cheer me up.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2010 23:40:53 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Nov 2010 10:09:41 GMT
Ben

Thank you for your interesting post where you outline, in six points, some of your reasons for your lack of belief, and at the end of which you say: "please do challenge me. The points are there to be challenged, not to be laid down as 'trump cards'...!"

I could challenge you on all your points, but for the moment I'd like to take you up on point 4.

You say:

>>> 4) Many claim God has intervened in the world, but I see no clear examples of this. I don't know of any clear-cut cases of 'supernatural' happenings. I don't even know how we could sufficiently demarcate a natural from a supernatural occurance, given we don't know everything about the natural world.

As an orthodox Christian, I believe that the one supreme example of this is Jesus Christ Himself, `Son of Man' and `Son of God,' the Second Person of God's Holy Trinity, the `Word of God,' Who existed, with the Father and Holy Spirit, before the world began. He is the One and Only Word that the Father has given to mankind. "God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son..."

As you know we believe that Jesus Christ proved His Divinity during the last three years of His life on earth by performing numerous miracles in support of His Divine Words and His Divine Authority...

... As my time is limited, please forgive me if I simply copy for you something of what I have written previously to G Proctor and to Ku. You can then challenge me on any areas that you feel are unsatisfactory:

G Proctor wrote:

>>> You're the one claiming these miracles occurred, so it's up to you to explain them.

I have explained them. They are performed by the Creator of the universe, Who can and does, for His Own good reasons, from time to time overrule His own laws. This was seen extensively during the last three years of His life as man on earth, and His miracles continue in the Church that He founded right up to the present time.

To my: The Christian belief in miracles is consistent with the creed and based on the evidence, not on negative dogma, preconceptions and unwillingness to look at the evidence, which sadly is all too evident among atheists.

You responded:

>>> I've looked at the evidence. It's not very strong.

Please tell me what you have looked at and how deeply. If you do look with the object of discovering the truth, rather than of confirming a negative prejudice or dogma, you will find that the evidence for miracles is concrete, cumulative and convincing.

Have you looked at the 70 or so miracles documented by the Medical Bureau at Lourdes? These are only a small fraction of the miracles that have taken place in Lourdes. Look at the case of the Liverpudlian, Jack Traynor, for example. This miracle was not in the 70, but is one of the thousands, apart from these, that have taken place there.

One important thing, when you check, do go as near as you can to the original witnesses. Fourth and fifth hand commentaries on these things, particularly when written by people with an agenda, can be misleading.

Have you looked into the miracle at Fatima witnessed by some 70,000 people including many atheists. Look at the original reports of the actual witnesses.

Have you read about Our Lady of Guadlaupe, Mexico City? .... I could go on.

I will just add, for the moment what I wrote to Ku, sometime back:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ku

You said:

>>> "... it was his" (Andre Frossard's) "subjective experience... There's no objective proof of any `miracle' there... I'm saying that was his perception. People can change their minds... There's no proof of God in that story..."

Andre Frossard had a subjective experience of an objective fact.

I was not claiming a `proof' for God there, simply another `pointer.'

Andre Frossard, once he had had that experience of `meeting God,' as he said, never changed his mind, as you know.

It was his experience of meeting God, in that astonishing miraculous manner that changed him instantly from a firm atheist, with a firm atheist background, into a firm member of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that Christ founded for all people. (Read Ignatius of Antioch, if you want to know what the early Church was like. Fundamentally, She is the same as She was then, teaching, in the first and second centuries, the unchanging teachings of Jesus Christ. True, the acorn has grown into the oak, or the grape seed into the vine, but She is the same tree or vine).

You are badly misunderstanding the miraculous.

Christ's miracles over the last nearly 2,000 years are not merely subjective perceptions, as you seem to imply.

When Christ changed water into wine,
When Christ walked on water,
When Christ multiplied the loaves and fishes,
When Christ healed the blind, the lame, the deaf, the dead,
When Christ rose from the dead,
When Christ ascended into heaven,
When Christ heals the incurably sick at Lourdes,
When Christ performs miracles, which are required by the Church before a person is formally `canonised,' i.e. officially called `a saint,' in the Church He founded...

... these events are not simply `subjective perceptions' as you seem to like to suggest. They are objective occurrences, often witnessed by many people.

Alright, I agree with you that Andre Frossard's meeting with God does not `prove' God's existence to you, who did not witness the objective event. But it certainly proved it to Andre Frossard.

Finally, miracles are most certainly evidence for God. Christians believe that Christ is God, not because of what He said, but because of what He DID. They believe that Christ is Divine on the evidence of His miracles (in conjunction with what He claimed and said).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ben, can I suggest, if you do decide to follow any of this up, that you start with the miracle of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Please let me know how you get on and what are your thoughts.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2010 23:45:24 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Nov 2010 23:46:35 GMT
Ben

You said:

>>> "I think The problem isn't that God is a meaningless term. Rather, the problem is that the term 'God' connotates too much! The meanings are too many, too diverse to ever feel you're getting close to anything substantial beneath the multiplicity of diverse, shifting meanings, if that makes sense."

It might, unless God were to become man.

Posted on 19 Nov 2010 23:53:19 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Nov 2010 00:11:46 GMT
"They are objective occurrences, often witnessed by many people."

So are UFO's, according to that logic. However daft and far-fetched, at least UFO 'sightings' are based on impressions formed at first hand, not second-hand ones passed down by innumerable hands over the centuries.

Give us some credible proof and you'll have our full attention. Until then, try harder.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Nov 2010 23:54:57 GMT
Spin said:

>>> "Is it not the case that one's definition of the term "God" influences ones acceptance or denial of a deity's existence?"

Pendragon replied:

>>> Presumably so, if one believes in a particular god. For then all other gods that do not conform with that belief are disbelieved.

Would the problem not be solved were God to become man?

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 00:00:07 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Nov 2010 05:22:59 GMT
Drew Jones says:
"Q 1. If you see the difference between freedom and free-will, can you explain it to me?"
http://www.amazon.co.uk/tag/religion/forum/ref=cm_cd_et_md_pl?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx24A4CS3HPMJLK&cdMsgNo=187&cdPage=8&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx1Z36NRUUSXBE4&displayType=tagsDetail&cdMsgID=Mx2A6Y23F08PWET#Mx2A6Y23F08PWET

"It seems that your answer is even more confused. What part of the question do you find confusing?"
The confusing part is how you do you see that these are not in effect? You are happy to suppose a spirit to do all the work but I don't see that as any different to assuming physics, chemistry and electrical impulses are at work. At least we have evidence of physics, chemistry and electrical impulses.

"Sorry, I'm not following you here."
That's because you didn't take the time to read what was originally written. Let's look back:
I wrote: What I can know is not the same as what I believe.
You then posed the question: If you can know it why can you not believe it?
The question doesn't follow from the statement without some context. It shows you are just throwing questions out there. I was making the point that knowledge isn't exactly the same as belief. I see distinctions between the two you assume them to be the same.

"Then I won't put you down as Number Seven if you are unable to confirm what you mean by free-will."
Well I don't think you have given a consistent representation of the concept of free will given that you largely controlled the argument, to this end I can not understand what is meant by free-will in the general debate but I feel I have provided my own explanation of what I believe in and mean by freedom.

"Drew, you are misunderstanding the orthodox Christian position if you think we are *made* to do things."
Not so. Your interpretation of freedom and mine just differs. I don't think true freedom can be granted by another, you do?

"We believe that it is our spiritual soul, made in the image and likeness of its Creator, that enables us to make free choices."
This is what I meant when I said "What I can know is not the same as what I believe." You may belief this but that belief does not itself constitute knowledge.

"We are not obliged to go where our physics and chemistry take us, as we believe are the rest of the animal kingdom."
Why do you not acknowledge the mountains of evidence that suggests species within the animal kingdom also make reasoned choices even if it is to a lesser lever? Why an absolute difference in humans that needs special 'spiritual' references? Why is physics and chemistry such an objectionable explanation but spiritual soul any better? It just seems like an emotional response rather than a reasoned one.

"That's why we believe that the rest of the animal kingdom does not have any moral responsibility for its actions, It does not understand the concept of immoral actions, so can't be morally responsible... "
Belief does not constitute knowledge. Very different things.

"I apologise for inflicting all those questions on you Drew, and thank you for responding. It is all very interesting, but as you can see, it does not answer my first question to you, as above, which was the point of my original post..."
Nothing answers your question apart from the answer you want to hear Paul. Ryan had a great idea in using a code word that showed how whether you actually read anything or not. For this post it is: Red Jelly.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 00:01:38 GMT
Drew Jones says:
I'd just be repeating myself too because I have answered the question.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 00:30:00 GMT
G. Proctor says:
>>>>>> I find that every Christian I have ever met has had to compromise on logic,

>>>And every atheist too, I would hazard to guess!

Why? I need more than that. I will admit that logic is not intrinsic to atheists and more than it is to theists - anyone can be an atheist for a stupid reason. But I believe that atheism is made up largely of people who either don't care about gods, or are skeptics, so that makes atheists largely logical. (I am assuming that skeptics are logical as well. ;) )

>>>>>> and I'm beginning to suspect that something about the religion does this to people.

>>>No more than does atheism. For orthodox Christians, probably less.

I'll wait for you to provide some backing for that. What's illogical about atheism?

>>>>>>None of that makes sense,

>>>Not to man, maybe.

Then people have no justification in telling me these things and claiming they are true.

>>>Are you thinking of God's Own Words: "I Am."? God Is. This is a better way of putting it than my rather clumsy "God is Existence," in that post, which you rightly criticised.

Why not just say 'God exists'? Is that not what you're trying to say?

But no, I referred more to things like people saying 'God is love', which is meaningless. You can say 'God is the most loving entity in existence' or 'God is composed of a substance called love', but 'God is love' makes no sense.

>>>I like the sentiments you express here, and agree with them.

Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 06:19:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Nov 2010 07:07:57 GMT
K. Moss says:
Hi Drew.

I have a compelling sense, as I have ventured into 'God Does Not Exist Because...(2)', that we are all playing parts in an episode of 'The Prisoner'...

You appear to be using a distinction in terms in order to set to one side the 'theistic paradox of free-will'. You then define your 'freedom' in your third paragraph - with which, other than perhaps some substitutions in jargon, I would guess that most Christians would have a great deal of agreement. I do not think that changing the terminology then allows you to sidestep the issues, necessarily - although (as I have said before) I do not think that this is a theistic / atheistic point of divide.

Q. Am I free to *act*, to make willing choices?
A. Yes, it feels to me as if I am.

Q. Am I entirely free to *act*?
A. No, I perceive that I am subject to a great many constraints (geography, social background, physical limitations, abilities, law etc). There are constraints that I willingly accept (indeed are normative) and there are others which I am conscious of, which I may react against (according to my beliefs).

Q. Does the fact that I am subject to limitations then mean that I am not *free*?
A. Clearly not. For instance, the fact that I need oxygen to exist simply defines the context for my freedom.

You would seek to define 'true freedom' as something that is not 'given', or as something that is not constrained by some divine being who makes the rules. That's fine, in as far as the argument goes. Christians would, for instance, argue that we are *free* within a world that is sustained by God's providence. The latter does not negate the former, in the same way as defining yourself as an oxygen-breathing organism does not negate the reality of your freedom within an O2-based world.

Your final sentence ascribes your freedom to a chaotic universe that allows many paths/choices, and makes no demands of you (paraphrase). I wonder if the issue in your definition of 'freedom' is therefore the 'no demands' aspect? This fits in with what you talking about earlier in respect of being 'truly uncompelled'. If the 'no demands' concept is fundamental to your freedom, then even that needs to be unpicked a little. Gravity 'makes demands' of you in a continual, non-verbal, but very tangible way. If you ignore the 'demands' of gravity, then to all intents and purposes, you cease to operate at all - let alone with any kind of freedom. Time, and the ageing process 'makes demands' of you, in terms of limiting physical abilities, altering the ways you interact with your environment etc. One could argue that the ties of family and other relationships also 'make demands' of us - we may choose to think that we are free to acknowledge those demands or not, but the reality is that if we don't take them seriously, then all social cohesion breaks down. These are 'demands' that you do, in practice follow - and, actually, without a great deal of personal choice.

In this context, the 'demands' of a Creator do not, to me and other Christians, appear to be all that 'unreasonable'. They certainly neither add nor subtract from this core issue of human freedom or freewill.

Kevin

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 06:29:59 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Nov 2010 10:38:53 GMT
Drew

You can call your last post Red Jelly if you like.

It is a pretty good description of it.

However I prefer to call it Fudge, because that is exactly what it is.

And you have still not answered the simple question I was asking you in the first place.

You leave me no alternative but to ask Pendragon.

Posted on 20 Nov 2010 06:32:57 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Nov 2010 10:08:14 GMT
Pendragon

I would be grateful if you could you please tell me why you believe that human freedom and human free-will are different concepts.

Many thanks

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 06:57:39 GMT
K. Moss says:
Paul.

"For..."

??????

Don't leave me on a cliffhanger!

And is poor ole Pendragon being rolled out as some kind of sanction? Sounds really ominous ("You leave me no alternative but to...beat you with rubber hoses")

Sorry, I know I'm being a bit flippant. Lack of sleep is having its inevitable effect and now I need toast.

Kevin

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 08:07:32 GMT
Drew Jones says:
Kevin,

I don't think there is a great difference (or any) in what many Christians would call free will and how I have termed freedom the point in drawing a distinction is to get some control of the concept back from Paul who is both asking everyone if they are free to open the gates for a lot of his assumptions. No other Christian is doing that here so I understand the difference seems useless, I'm not trying to sidestep a philosophical problem in this instance of changing the words what I really am just trying to get Paul to see how imposed the whole debate has become with his own personal strict 'Othodox Christian' interpretations.

I see that we are limited but that doesn't stop us being free in the great many things we can do. The main separation is that Paul determines freedom to be a gift from God, that to me is not freedom, freedom is the natural state of things until someone or something imposes on us their lack of imposition is not them granting us freedom. I don't believe it was a God that created the social conditions we bind ourselves together in.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 08:13:12 GMT
Drew Jones says:
I don't mind if you disagree with my answer Paul but I do object to you trying to tell everyone I haven't even bothered to answer the question when I clearly have. Where did Kevin's post come from if I've not responded to the question.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 10:04:31 GMT
Ryan

You make a fair point, though, in view of all the evidence for the miraculous in Christ and His Church, not a very convincing nor substantial one for anyone who cares to look into the evidence.

If you are truly interested in evidence for Christ's miracles in more recent times than during His life on earth, can I suggest that you look into

.1. `the miracle of the sun,' as it is called at Fatima in Portugal, predicted beforehand and witnessed by some 70,000 people including many atheists; and

.2. the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

If, on the other hand you are not interested, and only wish to confirm negative atheist prejudice and dogma, there is nothing I can do for you in this matter.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 10:46:44 GMT
Kevin

You obviously missed Pendragon's previous post.

It was he that said to me, in the first place, that there is a difference between human freedom and free-will.

In a post to Drew on another subject, I had simply asked him (and Pendragon), as an aside, what he thought was the difference.

As you have probably seen, all I have had from Drew in resoponse to this question so far, is 'Jelly and Fudge.'

(PS The 'For' was a 'typo' which I was not able to remove earlier this morning. For some reason the formatting on this page has sudenly become unfriendly)

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 10:49:24 GMT
Drew

Give us a break!

If you have answered the simple question, and I have somehow missed your answer, do please give it to me again!

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 11:16:30 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Nov 2010 11:17:17 GMT
Drew Jones says:
Give *you* a break?! To repeat myself again then: the difference is that introducing a different term allows me to acknowledge I have freedom without it being assumed to be within a framework that includes all your dogma that goes with it in your terminology. Pendragon probably intends something completely different so you'd have to ask us individually any way.

The formatting has hone astray is that I have had to drop in a link to show you I had at least given an explanation in answer to your question, Kevin even picked me up on it. Stop reading only want you want to read, pretending that there is no response at all to you.

Posted on 20 Nov 2010 11:32:30 GMT
Clone says:
Surely the difference between human freedom and free will is that the former is socially conditioned externally and the latter is an internal psychological state. For example, I may live in a country in which my human freedom is socially constricted, that does not mean as a consequence that I have no free will to act against this constriction if I so choose. The two are not synonymous.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 11:45:00 GMT
G Proctor

You said:

>>> I find that every Christian I have ever met has had to compromise on logic,

And every atheist too, I would hazard to guess!

>>> Why? I need more than that.

I can give you much more, but that means the post gets much longer:

.1. Your belief in free-will, which is incompatible with your materialism.

.2. The belief of most atheists on this forum that their free-will is `only an illusion' and yet they all without exception lead their lives as though they are free.

.3. Your and their disbelief in miracles although there is abundant evidence for them

.4. Their belief in spiritual qualities in man, but not in a spirit in man.

.5. Atheists believe that there is no meaning to the universe, nor to the life of man, but then they say that "they make their own meanings."

.6. Atheists believe that the Big Bang had a Cause. But then they say that there was nothing there to cause it!

.7. Atheists believe in the laws of mathematics and science (which do not explain themselves). But then they say that there is no `Lawmaker' (which could or would explain them).

.8. Atheists believe that life has evolved from matter `by chance.' But then they say, correctly, that chance `explains' nothing!

.9. Atheists like to claim that early cellular life forms were very simple. But good scientists confirm that, in fact, they were highly complex (far more complex than a Boeing 747 for example).

.10. Atheists will admit that early life forms were far more fragile than the mud or dust from which they arose, but they cannot say why they were `more fit to survive.'

Need I go on?

>>> I will admit that logic is not intrinsic to atheists and more than it is to theists

Good.

>>> - anyone can be an atheist for a stupid reason.

I agree.

>>> But I believe that atheism is made up largely of people who either don't care about gods, or are skeptics,

So does that make them wise men?

>>> so that makes atheists largely logical.

That does not follow at all.

I think we should make that Number .11. in the above list.

>>> (I am assuming that skeptics are logical as well. ;) )

An assumption. Some are, some of the time, like all of us.

>>> and I'm beginning to suspect that something about the religion does this to people.

No more than does atheism. For orthodox Christians, probably less.

>>> I'll wait for you to provide some backing for that.

Do you really want me to give you more than the eleven points above. I can give you many many more if you really wish.

>>> What's illogical about atheism?

If you still can't see that, I will answer this question for you, in even more detail, with pleasure.

>>>None of that makes sense, (on the God of the Old Testament compared to Christ)

Not to man, maybe.

>>>Then people have no justification in telling me these things and claiming they are true.

If God were to become man and tell you these things, would you see the justification?

>>> and Christians don't even seem to realise. Even words become fluid to them in ways that do not make sense (the abuse of the word 'is', for example).

Are you thinking of God's Own Words: "I Am."? God Is.

>>> Why not just say 'God exists'? Is that not what you're trying to say?

I am neither a trained philosopher or theologian, but I am a believing Christian and if God says of Himself, as He did to Moses' question: Who are You?: "I am Who Am" then who am I not to accept this? Christ also said to his questioners: "Before Moses was, I am," telling of His Own Divinity...

>>> But no, I referred more to things like people saying 'God is love', which is meaningless.

St. John the Evangelist used this term. I do not believe it is meaningless. God is infinite in all perfections. And Infinite Love is a perfection. God Is. God Is Love. God Is goodness. God Is Creator. God is a Loving Communion of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God Is the only Uncaused Cause. God Is the only Necessary Being. Without God nothing could or would be, or would exist, if you prefer. God exists of Himself. He simply Is Who Is, as He said of Himself.

>>> You can say 'God is the most loving entity in existence' or 'God is composed of a substance called love', but 'God is love' makes no sense.

So you say, but many, much wiser than you or me would say differently.

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Nov 2010 12:31:12 GMT
Kevin

I read your post to Drew with great interest. I found it very thoughtful, and I do not find anything there with which I would disagree.

In other words, in spite of what you and I have written in the past, I find our views identical on this subject. I find this most encouraging.

I think that Pendragon will be interested to see this `coming together' of our views on freedom, particularly bearing in mind his question to me about NickM ("Anyway, the point is, as you say, "I was puzzled by this contribution of his, but, as you see, he did use the word "entirely." ". I commented on this ("entirely") at the time, but he seemed to be going further in his post, I do not recall him clarifying the point...").
It seems that that little word `entirely' is all-important

So it seems, after all, that there really is a materialist-atheist / theist divide on this subject, at least for most atheists on this forum, i.e. excluding the `courageous five-and-a-half' (Pendragon is almost with us as you will have seen, but has so far declined the honourable title of `Number Six' ) who have so far declared their belief in human freedom.

I also notice that, like Drew, you have been unable, or have not attempted, to distinguish, between human freedom and human free-will. To me they are one and the same.

Many thanks for clarifying your own position on this extremely important subject of human freedom and responsibility for our own actions.

Posted on 20 Nov 2010 12:40:17 GMT
Would not complete and total freedom be consistent with anarchy?
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