Friday, January 16, 2009

Origin of the Moral Sense

I have been expending a great deal of thought regarding the common contentions I hear from atheists, agnostics, etc. regarding the matter of the origin of morality. My concern is that when I hear an atheist give the “Christian” reason for the existence of moral understanding it is not really the Christian argument at all. Then they proceed to give response to this and fail to give a response to our real assertion. I would think if we want to further understanding and dialog we really need to understand each others position much better and fully address it adequately.


Many of the apologists I am familiar with often spend time getting to know real people of other beliefs and seeking out the expert representatives of those beliefs to truly understand their position. Moreover, when they write a book they give a copy of their manuscript to said experts to ensure that they have fairly and adequately presented their beliefs. This way they can give the counter response to legitimately held beliefs without setting up an unfair straw man.


When I listened to The God Delusion Debate, Professor Richard Dawkins summed up why God is not needed to explain morality. One point that he made was that we don’t need a holy book to give us the rules of morality for we are able in and of ourselves to realize what things a book tells us are good and what are not good. So there must be something outside of reading of a book by which we use to judge morality. This is a very good point, and I concede the point. There is indeed something beyond reading a book even if that book is the Bible by which we know right from wrong. Someone who has never read the Bible still has the ability to differentiate between right and wrong.


Next Dawkins asserted that the only reason a God based morality is needed is to create a fear of punishment by God if one behaves badly or to provide a system of rewards for good behavior. I can understand his reasoning. To him it is complete lunacy to believe God exist. Thus his argument assumes God’s non-existence. If God didn’t exist and God was an invention of man it would follow that somewhere in the past the powers that be used this myth to make people behave out of fear or hope for rewards. All very logical, expect there is one problem. He hasn’t answered the Biblical Christian argument for the reason for morality.



Before I present it, let me reiterate that Dawkins admits that humanity universally accepts a moral right and wrong. He said, “its common sense.” His brief explanation of its evolution is that it probably began with the hunter-gather tribes that formed a value of good things and sympathized with suffering passing on this value from generation to generation. He cited that attitudes towards women and slavery have changed to support that morality isn’t fixed, it is evolving. Again, he only had a few minutes to give a response to such a matter and I am sure he has or could write entire books on the subject.


Now let’s turn to the Christian argument for the reason for morality for Biblical Christianity does not teach that one ought to be good to avoid punishment or to earn God’s favor. In fact, the Bible teaches that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The Bible further teaches that we cannot earn righteousness by good deeds. Nor can we lose righteousness by bad deeds in and of themselves. Our righteousness comes as a gift from God for those who look to Him for eternal life. I am not seeking to insert a salvation message. I am merely illustrating that Christianity isn’t about doing good for the reasons aforementioned.


The Christian argument as best as I know how to state it is this:


A good God exists. He created us good. In actualizing the good into creation, all that is not good became possible, but not actualized into being in creation. For instance, before there was light there was nothing, but when light came into existence darkness became the absence of light. Similarly, the actualization of the good gave that which is outside of the good a potential of becoming something actualized. Moreover, man had freedom to choose between what is good or leaving the good and entering something unnatural so to speak. When the non-good was chosen over the good the non-good came into existences gaining a reality of evil. Thus, man now knew good and evil. This altered the good. This changed the creation, corrupting it, subjecting it to a foreign contaminant so to speak. Now all mankind had in their nature the understanding of a difference between good and evil. It is common sense, as Dawkins says. It is universal. It is in man’s nature. That is why all men, except a few with physiological problems, internally know right from wrong. A struggle between the two natures exists to this day. The good news is that there is a solution to that struggle and it is not found in human efforts to do good things to please a dictator God. It is found in coming back into alignment with our created nature through redemption. God paid the debt to this corruption of sin for us so that we can step forward into a redeemed nature that doesn’t struggle with the corruption of sin. We grow into becoming people who do what is right because of the righteousness that flows through us as one of the many byproducts of knowing the Lord relationally.


To recap, the reason for our knowledge of good and evil is that there is a good God that created a good creation and when by the choice of human will evil entered the picture that knowledge increased to include awareness of what is not good. The struggle in every human between doing what we know in our hearts and minds as good and what is not good is a direct result of the corruption that entered creation. Yet that is not the end of the story, and the way of redemption was provided by God for all who will enter life through Him and the fullness of the glory of creation will be redeemed as well.


I understand that many religions have their own explanation and science has its. I think we need to take a look at them to see if they logically answer these questions of the origin of morality and the reason we have moral understanding. Compare and contrast the different explanations. Scrutinize the atheists’ argument the same as you would the theists’ argument. The truth can stand up to investigation. Most of all be sure you know the position of the one you discount and have researched it fairly and present a response that actually corresponds to the argument given. Don’t set up a non-good God scenario that is not given by theists. Actually respond to what is given. Thank you for your time.

75 comments:

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I understand that many religions have their own explanation and science has its. I think we need to take a look at them to see if they logically answer these questions of the origin of morality and the reason we have moral understanding.

Although science does - to an extent - try to answer the question of the origins of morality I find that most of the non-religious work in this area is actually by philosophers rather than scientists. I do understand that some interesting approaches have been made by anthroplogists and geneticists though.

As to the simple (one word) explanation of human morality..... Necessity.

Ali P said...

As a (atleast ex) Scientist, I can say that Science doesn't really care about morals, it only cares about finding answers.

Karla said...

I'm sorry, but neither of you have given a response to the argument. If science is inept to give answer then we can turn to philosophy. But as yet I have not heard a real direct thought out and reasonable response to the Christian reasoning on this matter. Can anyone point me to a source that has directly addressed the Christian position?

I have read ebon muse and he does not address it, he does like Dawkins and others and sets up a theists position which is not a theists position at all, or at least is not a Christian one. I would like to see someone who has tackled the Christian position accurately even if I disagree with their response I'd like to see someone who has responded.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I'm sorry, but neither of you have given a response to the argument.

Which particular argument? That Christianity/religion/theism gives a good/valid explanation of the origin of morality?

karla said: If science is inept to give answer then we can turn to philosophy.

Yes. Philosophers have been discussing morality for millenia. It is only comparatively recently that scientists have got in on the debate.

karla said: Can anyone point me to a source that has directly addressed the Christian position?

'On the Genealogy of Morality' by Friedrich Nietzsche.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, the Bible teaches that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

Which is not moral.

"The Bible further teaches that we cannot earn righteousness by good deeds. Nor can we lose righteousness by bad deeds in and of themselves."

That's your opinion and not shared by all Xians. Perhaps only the Scottish Xians share your interpretation?

"Our righteousness comes as a gift from God for those who look to Him for eternal life. I am not seeking to insert a salvation message. I am merely illustrating that Christianity isn’t about doing good for the reasons aforementioned."

Excuse me? That's exactly what you just did.

"In actualizing the good into creation, all that is not good became possible, but not actualized into being in creation."

It would only become possible if god allowed it to.

"When the non-good was chosen over the good the non-good came into existences gaining a reality of evil. Thus, man now knew good and evil."

This is an explicit admission that Adam and Eve did not know right from wrong when they ate the apple, and have been punished for not being able to "choose" appropriately.

"Now all mankind had in their nature the understanding of a difference between good and evil. It is common sense, as Dawkins says. It is universal. It is in man’s nature. That is why all men, except a few with physiological problems, internally know right from wrong."

Which doesn't explain the evolution of our moral thought or why god set down rules for moral behavior - rules that are obviously suspect and deficient.

"I understand that many religions have their own explanation and science has its. I think we need to take a look at them to see if they logically answer these questions of the origin of morality and the reason we have moral understanding."

Considering that the Xian argument can't even get off the ground logically, I think it's pretty safe to say that the Xian argument is well behind the atheist argument. At the root of your "explanation" is a bunch of assumptions that can not be shown to be true, that are not based on the empirical evidence we do have - indeed, they go against the evidence in most cases - and rely on fanciful stories made up thousands of years ago. Besides, it's not a real explanation at all, since it doesn't actually answer the questions as to why we have an evolved morality, why we see moral development and behavior in other animals, etc. It's a poorly thought out attempt at proselytizing.

"But as yet I have not heard a real direct thought out and reasonable response to the Christian reasoning on this matter."

Because as much as you claim to be open to these things, you are clearly not. You claim that you already know the "Truth" so by your definition, no explanation can be reasonable, which ironically is the unreasonable position.

Karla said...

Response to Cyber Kitten:

Friedrich Nietzsche actually supports my argument that morality is inextricably tied to Christianity. If you strip the foundations of God away you strip the morality away along with it. Nietzsche championed this idea.

CyberKitten said...

Karla said: Friedrich Nietzsche actually supports my argument that morality is inextricably tied to Christianity. If you strip the foundations of God away you strip the morality away along with it. Nietzsche championed this idea.

After just studying him for the last 10 weeks as part of my degree course I'd have to say that I disagree with you 100%.

Nietzsche most certainly did not champion Christian morality - which you may know he called *Slave* Morality and he didn't use this term in a nice way! He thought that Christianity was probably the worst thing that had happened to Western civilisation.

Where did you pick up the idea that he was in any way pro-Christian?

Karla said...

No, that's not what I was saying. He detested Christian morality. What I meant was that he believed if you stripped society of the foundations for morality (God) society would become stripped of morality as well. He wanted this to happen.

However, new atheism trys to maintain that there is a real structure of morality without a foundation in God. This is contary to Nietzche.

Anonymous said...

"However, new atheism trys to maintain that there is a real structure of morality without a foundation in God."

And, it has been demonstrated to you that we can form moral structures without regard to god. If you wish to further claim that we can only do this because god exists, then you have to answer all the objections that your assertion raises and you must realize that the onus is on you to show that your assertions are correct; not simply assume they are correct until you can be disproven.

CyberKitten said...

Karla said: What I meant was that he believed if you stripped society of the foundations for morality (God) society would become stripped of morality as well.

But he didn't hold that the foundations of morality was God. As far as Nietzsche was concerned morality was simply ingrained custom - nothing more.

Karla said: He wanted this to happen.

Nietzsche was (IIRC) very worried about how most people would react to the death of God. He was concerned that they would descend into nilhilism which he saw as definitely a bad thing.

Karla said: However, new atheism trys to maintain that there is a real structure of morality without a foundation in God.

Really? That's news to me. What are they calling a "real structure of morality"?

Karla said: This is contary to Nietzche.

...and your point being? [looks confused].

Karla said...

Okay. Let me try again. Do not new atheists (ie Dawkins, Dennet, Harris, Hitchens) claim things to be "right or wrong" therefore accepting that there is a moral structure, but that structure is a product of natural evolution and not divine creation?

Whereas Nietzche advocated that there was no moral "right and wrong, or good and evil" because there is no God. I believe, he was concerned on one hand about such a society that lived out his philosophy, but on the other hand I think he was not hoping for there to be a morality regardless of the consequences.

My point is that Nietzche supports my contention that morality is inseparable to the existence of God. Our ability to know right from wrong is God given. For we do know right from wrong and yet Nietzche says there is no cause for that if Christianity is dispensed with. So even as an atheists he supports the idea that you need God to have morality, not because of punishment or rewards or religion, but because it is philosophically true that there would have to be a God if there is an objective universal moral knowledge of "oughts".

My challenge in my post is that I haven't seen an atheists argument against the Christian reasoning that did not misrepresent the Christian argument as being a matter of needing God as a punisher or rewarder for being moral. For that simply isn't the Christian position.

Anonymous said...

"My challenge in my post is that I haven't seen an atheists argument against the Christian reasoning that did not misrepresent the Christian argument as being a matter of needing God as a punisher or rewarder for being moral."

And you ignored my comment which obliterated your statement here. If you wish to assert that, "Our ability to know right from wrong is God given," then you will have to provide some evidence for it, and answer the obvious objections and evidence of evolved morals as well as moral behavior in other animals. Once again, it is up to you to take on the onus of presenting a case that holds up under scrutiny. It is not enough for you to simply claim "goddidit" and then sit back and complain that no one is debunking you to YOUR satisfaction.

CyberKitten said...

Karla said: Do not new atheists (ie Dawkins, Dennet, Harris, Hitchens) claim things to be "right or wrong" therefore accepting that there is a moral structure, but that structure is a product of natural evolution and not divine creation?

I'm not sure. They probably believe in right & wrong (as do I of course) but I haven't read anything by them which says they believe it to be a product of evolution. There are some ideas out there regarding that but I think its still highly speculative.

karla said: My point is that Nietzche supports my contention that morality is inseparable to the existence of God.

No he doesn't - at least not as far as I understand him. He was of the opinion that morality was no more than ingrained custom and that it had nothing to do with God. He actually made a point of putting forward non-God centred explanations of the origins of morality.

karla said: For we do know right from wrong and yet Nietzche says there is no cause for that if Christianity is dispensed with.

I'd *love* to know where you read this.

karla said: So even as an atheists he supports the idea that you need God to have morality, not because of punishment or rewards or religion, but because it is philosophically true that there would have to be a God if there is an objective universal moral knowledge of "oughts".

Erm... Absolutely not! [laughs] You really need to read 'Genealogy'. It appears you have Nietzsche completely wrong.... What *have* you been reading to give you this idea.....? [looks bemused].

Karla said...

"When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one's feet. This morality is by no means self-evident: this point has to be exhibited again and again, despite the English flatheads. Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one's hands." Frederich Nietzche Twilight of the Idols

I found the quote in Oxford Professor Alister McGrath's book The Twilight of Atheism.

The quote is consistent with what I have read about Nietzche's philosophy from a variety of sources. However, I most certainly need to read some of his works myself. I picked up one last year, but I haven't gotten to it yet. I will keep in mind to pick up the one you mention as well.

I disagree with the above quote that morality isn't self-evident. But I agree that it's foundational cause is intricately united to the Christian system.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
It might help if you actually understood the quote in question. Here's a hint: "Christian morality" is not the same as "morality." To claim that Nietszche is claiming that all morality comes from Xianity or that all morality comes from the Xian god or any god based on this quote is to misunderstand what one is reading. He's speaking specifically about a specific moral system (the Xian one) and arguing that if one does not believe in the Xian god, then one has no reason to follow this Xian moral system. This is evident in the rest of the paragraph, which is not quoted by McGrath (I'm shocked that an apologist would quote-mine...shocked I say!)

"Christianity presupposes that man does not know, cannot know what is good for him, what evil; he believes in God, who along knows it. Christianity is a command; its origin is transcendent; it is beyond all criticism, all right to criticism; it has truth only if God is the truth - it stands and falls with faith in God."

(Note: don't read into this more than it means - he's not saying that Xianity actually comes from a supernatural source or that it can't be criticized. He's saying that the purported tenets and beliefs of Xians are said to be of supernatural origin, and therefore not open to criticism. I know you'll probably still not understand what he's saying though...)

Hopefully, the rest of the quote outlines why your interpretations are incorrect.

Karla said...

Okay thank you for that correction.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: However, I most certainly need to read some of his works myself.

I think that would certainly help. The 'problem' with Nietzsche is that he's so quotable - and you can cherry pick his comments to back up quite a few contradictory arguments - including your understanding of him. The only way to really get to grips with him is to read his books - and not to expect to understand what he's getting at first time around. Although easy to read he's not so easy to understand. Don't make your mind up about him too quickly.

karla said: I disagree with the above quote that morality isn't self-evident. But I agree that it's foundational cause is intricately united to the Christian system.

But morality isn't self evident. If it was we wouldn't be able to debbate it because there would be nothing to debate.

Nor is morality and Christianity in any way the same thing. Christianity is just a *version* of morality.

Karla said...

Cyber Kitten: "But morality isn't self evident. If it was we wouldn't be able to debate it because there would be nothing to debate."

A moral "ought" is universal. There may be some disagreement between "what ought" but not that there is an "ought." That is self-evident. Disagreement on what "ought" to be is only possible because we share the understanding of a right and wrong. Otherwise such discussion would be rendered meaningless.

I did not mean to misquote Nietzche, I will eventually get around to reading him. I've read 4 books already this year and am 50 pages into a 5th.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: A moral "ought" is universal. There may be some disagreement between "what ought" but not that there is an "ought." That is self-evident.

Is it? You're going to have to say more about that before I agree with you.

karla said: Disagreement on what "ought" to be is only possible because we share the understanding of a right and wrong. Otherwise such discussion would be rendered meaningless.

Agreeing that there are right ways of doing things and wrong ways doesn't really get us very far. Not only can you debate which things are right and wrong but you can also debate the ideas of right and wrong. What constitues a wrong action? Who decideds if it is wrong? What do you even mean by wrong?

That's why I don't believe it is self-evident. What do you even mean by self-evident? Do you have an example?

Quixote said...

"What do you even mean by self-evident?"

Karla,

Don't let me put words in your mouth, but it appears that what you are claiming is that the moral sense is readily apprehended by humanity in all eras, and in all places.

Self-evident is a philosophically loaded term, and while I think you intend what's in my first paragraph, it may not be properly classified as self-evident. SE is a term usually identified with propositions such as 1+1=2 or that a triangle has three sides.

I think your claim is intact, nevertheless. Virtually everyone agrees that humans are moral beings, and this universal moral sense is so pervasive throughout time and place that no one seems to deny it as a phenomenon--at least I am not aware of anyone who does. Where disagreement occurs is at the point of the objectivity/relativity of morality, its genesis, whether it is merely a human conception thrust upon reality, whether it's illusory by nature, God's relation to it (if any) and interpretations of extended ethical systems, among other things. It's a tough subject, which is most likely the reason a third of philosophy is dedicated to its study.

You're also correct in your assertion that objective morality is customarily tied to a God concept, or some other supernatural, even at rare times a natural, mysterious entity or force. It's when morality is divorced from God or an independent objective standard that it becomes relative, merely human, naturalistically evolutionary, illusory, or the like. I can't imagine atheist or theist alike disagreeing with this proposition, except to perhaps qualify details of my hasty formulization.

Your main thesis is sound as well, one that all rational folk *ought* to agree with. Arguments are routinely mischaracterized, especially via the internet, in an attempt to disprove them. Atheists, rightly so, wish their positions to be stated accurately before being criticized. Likewise, Christians appreciate the same treatment. Otherwise, it resembles a schoolyard spat.

BTW & not aimed at anyone in particular, Nietzsche would appreciate the same :) Reading his works is generally not sufficient. He needs to be studied within the context of continental philosophy with an additional foundation of Hume and Kant. It's not possible to read him analytically and gather anything but your own presuppositions or subjective opinions. Soon, if we're not past that point already, we're going to need something analogous to Godwin's law for Nietzsche.

Anonymous said...

Quixote,
"Virtually everyone agrees that humans are moral beings, and this universal moral sense is so pervasive throughout time and place that no one seems to deny it as a phenomenon--at least I am not aware of anyone who does."

It would be an interesting experiment to test that. Take a child and separate that child from culture and moral teaching and see if the child develops morality or not. This, of course, will never be done because it would be an unethical test, but it would be interesting.

"You're also correct in your assertion that objective morality is customarily tied to a God concept, or some other supernatural, even at rare times a natural, mysterious entity or force."

That's correct that the custom is to do those things, but I dispute that it is necessarily right, i.e. that objective morality can come from a god. This runs smack into Euthyphro's dilemma, which remains unsolved to this day. Obeying the moral dictates of a god isn't necessarily objective in the sense that it's contingent on the subjective whims of that god.

CyberKitten said...

Quixote said: Virtually everyone agrees that humans are moral beings, and this universal moral sense is so pervasive throughout time and place that no one seems to deny it as a phenomenon--at least I am not aware of anyone who does.

Well, human beings act in moral or immoral ways according to their own particular culture yes....

The 'sense of morality' is only 'universal' however in that all cultures have a culture that gives rise to the often amazing variety in morality. I think that any actually universal moral impulse would have to be so general that finding it would be largely meaningless and certainly wouldn't even indicate - never mind prove - that God was involved in any way.

Quixote said: It's when morality is divorced from God or an independent objective standard that it becomes relative, merely human, naturalistically evolutionary, illusory, or the like.

It amused me when you appear to link relativism, 'merely' human endeavour (why do theists tend to denigrate human achievement so much I wonder?), naturalism, evolution and - my particular favourite - illusion.....

Quixote said: Your main thesis is sound as well, one that all rational folk *ought* to agree with.

What was the main thesis again....?

Quixote said: Reading his works is generally not sufficient. He needs to be studied within the context of continental philosophy with an additional foundation of Hume and Kant.

Reading any philosohper in his historical context (and with a passing knowledge of his antecedents) always helps. No philosophy exists in isolation - except maybe the first stirrings in Greece.

Quixote said: Soon, if we're not past that point already, we're going to need something analogous to Godwin's law for Nietzsche.

Huh?

Quixote said...

"Take a child and separate that child from culture and moral teaching and see if the child develops morality or not."

Interesting comment; I hadn't considered that. The first thing that comes to mind are reports of feral children. They tend to exhibit pack behavior in accordance with the animals they were raised with. Great comment.

"This runs smack into Euthyphro's dilemma, which remains unsolved to this day."

In your estimation, that is.

Quixote said...

"I think that any actually universal moral impulse would have to be so general"

There's a world of difference between sense and impulse, as you shift the argument here; however, I would not concede the point that morality diverges as much as you claim it does.

"It amused me when you appear to link relativism, 'merely' human endeavour (why do theists tend to denigrate human achievement so much I wonder?),"

I don't understand the amusement. These are descriptions nearly universally accepted, if not universally. Certainly you don't accept absolutism; the remaining option is some form of relativistic conception. *Merely* in this sense is not a pejorative, it designates that nothing more than human conceptions should be posited. So, in the spirit of Karla's main theme, don't misconstrue my meaning to imply that humanity doesn't achieve wonderful things. They are, after all, created in the image of God, in the theistic view. I understand your point though. It's all too common.

"Reading any philosohper in his historical context (and with a passing knowledge of his antecedents) always helps."

Yep, crucial for this one, though, and not primarily the historical context, but the philosophic one.

Anonymous said...

Quixote,
"In your estimation, that is."

Not just mine.

Regardless, I don't see how following the dictates of a god is not in effect subjective morality. One can say that we can take the rules laid down and we can all agree on what they mean and follow them, which is objective for us. But, the problem is that these are ultimately based on the subjective whims of the god in question. If this god decides tomorrow to issue new commands, then those are what become moral. If this god decides to say that rape and murder are moral actions, well then they are. This would seem to move the moral foundation out of the objective realm to the subjective realm.

I have a feeling that Karla would want to argue that god can not do this, however. Well, then she's got bigger problems. If god can not do this because murder and rape are not moral actions, then morality is absolute outside of god and we don't need god to arbitrate. If she wants to argue that god can not do those things because god can't order immorality, then god becomes a non-free agent, meaning that god is less than perfect since god would in essence be a robot (slave to Karla's interpretations incidentally, which is kind of the logical conclusion of her infallible view of her religious notions anyway).

Quixote said...

"Not just mine."

Yeah, I'm aware it has plenty of support, but there are plenty who think it's adequately solved as well. Good thing for you the majority opinion doesn't determine truth :)

We've previously argued ED, so do we have to do another 90 posts back and forth?

Karla said...

I'm glad to see the discussion continued in my absence. Thank you Quixote for your input. I did mean the former by 'self-evident' that it is universally inherent in humanity to have a moral nature.

Cyberkitten why does humanity care so much about what is right and wrong and try to figure it all out if there is nothing more than our own assumptions and opinions to give it meaning? If there is nothing greater giving a moral "ought" meaning then why do we bother about it at all? Why not only do what is beneficial and yet we don't do what is beneficial to others? The Christian worldview explains why we can't live up to a moral standard. Evolution, from what I have understand, doesn't. Evolution would dictate that we do what is beneficial for us always, it doesn't explain why we don't do what's good for us.

Anonymous, I have given answer to the ED as has Quixote. Maybe you should refer back to that. I speak of a God who is the standard of goodness, for He is perfect. Not one who adheres to an external standard or creates an external standard. When we come in alignment with Him we live righteously. No following of any system of rules in and of themselves will work.

Anonymous said...

Quixote,
"We've previously argued ED, so do we have to do another 90 posts back and forth?"

No, we can put it in the unsolved pile along with Epicurus.

Karla,
"Cyberkitten why does humanity care so much about what is right and wrong and try to figure it all out if there is nothing more than our own assumptions and opinions to give it meaning?"

Because we've evolved as social animals. We all gain by living in this environment and it behooves us to keep order for the good of all, including ourselves.

"If there is nothing greater giving a moral "ought" meaning then why do we bother about it at all?"

Because we benefit from it. Why do you jump to absolutes? Why do you believe in all or nothing?

"The Christian worldview explains why we can't live up to a moral standard."

And, this creates an impossible standard, which is immoral for god to place on us. Hmmm, that sounds familiar...oh yeah, it's an objection I've brought up before that has been left hanging.

"Evolution, from what I have understand, doesn't."

Maybe because you don't understand evolution, which is quite apparent. Evolution doesn't seek to explain why "we can't live up to the moral standard," especially since many don't agree with you that we can't live up to some moral standard. We can't live up the perfection that you believe your god demands, but so what? What has that to do with evolution?

"Evolution would dictate that we do what is beneficial for us always, it doesn't explain why we don't do what's good for us. "

You know what? Just stop. Stop arguing against something that you plainly don't understand. Would you similarly argue that somebody's on 'light propagation through bi-laterally symmetric dielectric crystals' is wrong even though I have a feeling you have no idea what that is? Then, why do you feel qualified to argue that evolution is wrong, considering it's pretty obvious that you know zilch about it?

"Anonymous, I have given answer to the ED as has Quixote."

And, I've pointed out why the answers don't actually answer the dilemma, which you've ignored. When there are challenges on the table, you can't simply ignore them and claim that you've answered all challenges. This is dishonest.

"I speak of a God who is the standard of goodness, for He is perfect."

That just pushes the layer back one without solving the dilemma.

"When we come in alignment with Him we live righteously."

What does it even mean to "come in alignment with him?" You are talking about obeying his will, are you not? How does obeying god's will somehow make us righteous? What if god's will is for us to go and kill our fellow man? You will object, but I can point to the Bible where this HAS HAPPENED! Is it righteous to commit genocide?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Cyberkitten why does humanity care so much about what is right and wrong and try to figure it all out if there is nothing more than our own assumptions and opinions to give it meaning? If there is nothing greater giving a moral "ought" meaning then why do we bother about it at all?

For one thing there is the understandable human anxiety of wanting to know how to behave in many situations - especially if they're new to you. There is also the very human tendency to ask the question: Why should I behave this way or that way? Such questioning might even undermine the idea that we have an innate moral sense. If its innate why do we need to question it? Could we even question it if we already knew with any certainty what is right from wrong?

karla said: Why not only do what is beneficial and yet we don't do what is beneficial to others?

...and what exactly *is* beneficial? Beneficial to who? Is it ok to harm 10 people to help 10,000? Just doing what is 'beneficial' doesn't take away any of the complexity...

karla said: The Christian worldview explains why we can't live up to a moral standard.

...and what *particular* standard would that be?

karla said: Evolution, from what I have understand, doesn't. Evolution would dictate that we do what is beneficial for us always, it doesn't explain why we don't do what's good for us.

I don't think that Evolution has much to say on the subject really - except in a general and roundabout way. Morality probably does have a genetic component but it doesn't determine absolute rights and wrongs. At best it probably influences our morality.

If you're interested you should check out 'The Selfish Gene' by Dawkins. He has a good attempt at asking that question and comes up with some interesting/surprising ideas.

Karla said...

Anon said "Because we benefit from it. Why do you jump to absolutes? Why do you believe in all or nothing?"

Don't you utilize absolutes? (ie God absolutely doesn't exist.) Don't you believe in all or nothing? (ie) God doesn't exists at all.) It would be self defeating to say that there are not absolutes. I assume you do not embrace postmodern both/and philosophy versus either/or philosophy.

Anon said "What does it even mean to "come in alignment with him?" You are talking about obeying his will, are you not? How does obeying god's will somehow make us righteous?"

No, I am talking about unity with His Being. You keep putting things in a manner of obeying laws, rules, and decrees, and it isn't about that at all (speaking from the biblical Christian worldview). Obedience doesn't make us righteous. Having His life given to us make us righteous and when we have His life merged with ours we are enabled to live righteously because we take on a new nature that expels the old unrighteous nature. We work that reality out as we grow in Christ--that is why you have people at all different levels of maturity in Christ. It is a process.

The way God responds to man changed when Christ came to the earth and the new covenant was birthed. God is the same, but we are now seen differently because of the work of Christ.

God never tied our righteousness to good deeds. Good deeds will result from our finding our righteousness as a free gift in Him, but it isn't the product of following rules.

The Euthyphro's dilemma, creates a false dichotomy and that is why in the confines of the argument it isn't answerable for it has false presuppositions. God doesn't adhere to a system of morality outside of Himself and He doesn't whimsically issue laws of righteousness. Goodness stems from His nature, and He is perfectly Himself all the time.

At this point I don't know how to explain this to you better. But I'm willing to keep at it.

Anonymous said...

"Don't you utilize absolutes? (ie God absolutely doesn't exist.)"

No, I don't.

"Don't you believe in all or nothing?"

No, I don't.

Either way, some things can be black/white while others are not. You jump to the black/white for most things when there are other alternatives given to you.

"No, I am talking about unity with His Being."

Meaning what? This makes no more sense than saying "coming into alignment with god."

"You keep putting things in a manner of obeying laws, rules, and decrees, and it isn't about that at all (speaking from the biblical Christian worldview)."

I don't know what Bible you are reading, but the Bible is pretty clear that obeying god is the most important thing you can do. So, if it is not about that, what is it about and why do you suppose it is about that?

"Obedience doesn't make us righteous."

Then what does? Your "explanation" isn't really explaining anything. I don't know what:

"Having His life given to us make us righteous and when we have His life merged with ours we are enabled to live righteously because we take on a new nature that expels the old unrighteous nature."

means. This doesn't explain how any of this happens. This doesn't explain how you know any of this. This doesn't explain anything really.

"We work that reality out as we grow in Christ--that is why you have people at all different levels of maturity in Christ. It is a process."

Which is rather convenient for you isn't it? Since people are "growing in Christ" the empirical fact that Xians are no more or less moral than others is "explained" away by this "just so" "answer." Yet, there is no support for it.

"The way God responds to man changed when Christ came to the earth and the new covenant was birthed. God is the same, but we are now seen differently because of the work of Christ."

If god is the same, then who is it that is seeing us differently?

"God never tied our righteousness to good deeds."

Many Xians disagree with you on that.

"Good deeds will result from our finding our righteousness as a free gift in Him, but it isn't the product of following rules."

And yet, non-Xians commit good deeds too. So, once again we have a rather superfluous "explanation" that doesn't actually explain anything and simply adds a layer onto something we already know...Occam says, "No deal."

"The Euthyphro's dilemma, creates a false dichotomy and that is why in the confines of the argument it isn't answerable for it has false presuppositions. God doesn't adhere to a system of morality outside of Himself and He doesn't whimsically issue laws of righteousness. Goodness stems from His nature, and He is perfectly Himself all the time."

And, as I've already pointed out, you've simply moved the dilemma back one level.

"At this point I don't know how to explain this to you better. But I'm willing to keep at it."

You could try continually repeating yourself and ignoring the challenges and problems with your assertions that I've pointed out...it's worked well for you so far...*/sarcasm*

Quixote said...

"No, we can put it in the unsolved pile along with Epicurus."

Much appreciated & I like the sense of humor. You go ahead and keep trying to solve it; I filed it in the solved pile.

Karla said...

The prodigal son illustrates what I am talking about. A man has a son who squanders what was rightfuly his and lives apart from the father until he is unable to go any longer on his own strength. He sets out, now having nothing of his own, and returns to the father. The father sees him from afar off and prepares a great feast for his returning son. He gives back to the on the full sonship status of glory giving him a robe and ring and grand dinner and all that he owns is given to his son. The son didn't have to earn the favor of his father by any good deeds, he simply was his father's son and welcomed into full sonship status once again. This is what the Lord offers to each of us. We can be His sons and daughters heirs of His Kingdom. We are elevated out of our muck and mire to a new way of living.

Yes some Christians believe you have to work to earn this status with God by various means. But that's simply not the Gospel message. That's man's corruption of the truth. We want to feel we can earn it by our own merrit. We can't. We don't have to. We can be sons and daughters of God and belong to Him and come into a new way of living by simply accepting His gift of life in Him.

Saying it's a process isn't a cop out. Spiritually the reality of sonship happens instantly. But the practical outworkings in this world vary. There are some that show extradordinary progress and others that grow in the Lord in a slower manner. We are a diverse people, and not all children are alike. God is patient with each one of us and aids us in our growth accordingly. We learn a lot from the process which is helpful.

Yes it is important for us to be keeping the Lord's ways. Being obedient, because it is good for us to do so. I'm talking about a perfect good Father that does indeed know best and who leads like the most wonderful dad in the world. When we learn to trust His ways we find that in them are life and freedom and glory. He is my source of life.

You all marvel at my confidence and think I cannot know what I speak. I'm sorry I fail to be able to communicate this to you better. It's too good to keep to myself. It's too wonderful not to share. I hope that there is still a place in your uncertainty about the supernatural to not be so quick to dismiss all I say.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I hope that there is still a place in your uncertainty about the supernatural to not be so quick to dismiss all I say.

Not *that* big a place... No.

Anonymous said...

"The prodigal son illustrates what I am talking about."

What does it have to do with being "aligned with god," being righteous, etc. This father loved his son and reaped rewards on him simply for coming home, but that's not really analogous to man, in his fallen nature, somehow becoming righteous.

"Yes some Christians believe you have to work to earn this status with God by various means. But that's simply not the Gospel message."

How can you be so certain? They read the same message and come to a different conclusion. How can you tell who is right and who is wrong?

"Saying it's a process isn't a cop out. Spiritually the reality of sonship happens instantly. But the practical outworkings in this world vary."

It IS a cop out. It's saying that basically something happens that is indistinguishable from nothing happening.

"Yes it is important for us to be keeping the Lord's ways. Being obedient, because it is good for us to do so."

You aren't answering the questions. Was it good for the people to commit genocide?

"I'm talking about a perfect good Father that does indeed know best and who leads like the most wonderful dad in the world."

Perfect good? Since you like the father analogy so much, how does a perfect good father tell one set of children to annihilate another set of children?

"You all marvel at my confidence and think I cannot know what I speak...I hope that there is still a place in your uncertainty about the supernatural to not be so quick to dismiss all I say."

I find this to be rather hypocritical. It's a variation on the "You're closed minded until you believe what I believe." Invariably, as is the case here, you're convinced that you know the truth and are unwilling to listen to anyone else's evidence/views/etc. yet you complain that we are closed minded simply because we don't accept your word and agree with you based on no evidence. I've said many times that there could be a god, but that there seems to be no evidence for this god. This IS open minded. You claim that there is a god and nothing could convince you otherwise - further you claim that you know X, Y, and Z about this god and nothing can convince you that those things are not correct, even when shown why they logically don't hold. This IS closed minded. You don't get to claim your way or the highway and also that you are open minded and that we are not.

Karla said...

The father-son analogy has everything to do with what I mean by being aligned with God. We belong in Him. We belong in relationship to Him. We don’t have to earn that privilege for He took any and all requirements of bridging the separation between us upon Himself. Coming into alignment with Him is coming home. It is coming back into that belonging to His family. Many do have immediate transformations when they come to God through Christ. My hitting on it being a process is to say that salvation isn’t contingent upon the doing of good works so if someone comes to God and their life is slowly transforming versus the one who transforms instantly they are not any less a son or daughter of God.

You are right there ought to be visible differences and I am not saying us Christians ought to look and act the same as we did before we were Christians. Our lives are to be a testimony. We are called to represent Christ to the world through the way we live, how we love, the peace that we carry, as well as things like healing the sick. It should be obvious that there is something different about us. I just didn’t want to promote the idea that any of that was a requirement of earning God’s favor versus a byproduct of a restored relationship with the Father.

As far as certainty goes, I see you asking me to be open-minded that God doesn’t exist the same as asking me to be open-minded that my husband doesn’t exist. I am just as certain of the one as the other. I can see how you can be uncertain about something you don’t know to be true. I have no problem with your uncertainty. But once you find truth how could you remain uncertain? If I were still uncertain then I would not yet have found truth. If certainty is never possible then finding truth is never possible. I am taking the time to read all you write and read atheists blogs and engage with you all. I do seek to understand your view point. But I don’t seek to do so to adopt it. I greatly appreciate you and the others willingness to have these discussions with me.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: We belong in Him.

As a free citizen of an independent democratic state I can say with confidence that I don't *belong* to or in anyone. The idea reeks of ownership which I personally find offensive.

karla said: We belong in relationship to Him.

I prefer to *choose* my relationships actually.

karla said: Coming into alignment with Him is coming home. It is coming back into that belonging to His family.

I'm curious as to where we have supposedly been in order to need to come 'home'....

karla said: If certainty is never possible then finding truth is never possible.

Not in the sense you appear to mean.. no, it isn't possible.

karla said: I do seek to understand your view point. But I don’t seek to do so to adopt it.

But do you expect us to adopt *your* view point (because that's all it is) - or merely to understand it?

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"The father-son analogy has everything to do with what I mean by being aligned with God. We belong in Him. We belong in relationship to Him. We don’t have to earn that privilege for He took any and all requirements of bridging the separation between us upon Himself. Coming into alignment with Him is coming home."

Meaning what exactly? How does one come into alignment with god? Metaphorically coming home isn't very descriptive. And, how does "coming home" make us righteous?

"Many do have immediate transformations when they come to God through Christ."

So you say, but you also claim that many do not. So, which is it? Also, how do you make a distinction between those who change through Christ and those who change through other means (i.e. other gods, regular epiphany, personal tragedy, etc.) IOW, you're still making an argument that is indistinguishable from regular occurrences and claiming that it somehow validates your view. It would be like doctors claiming that the placebo effect didn't heal people, but it was the actual sugar of the pills that did it.

"You are right there ought to be visible differences and I am not saying us Christians ought to look and act the same as we did before we were Christians."

And there are not differences, so what does that tell you?

"It should be obvious that there is something different about us."

And, it patently is not obvious, nor are there differences.

"As far as certainty goes, I see you asking me to be open-minded that God doesn’t exist the same as asking me to be open-minded that my husband doesn’t exist."

Let me turn that around. You asking me to be open-minded that god does exist is like asking me to be open-minded that gurbleglack exists. Or, how about this...you are stating that your husband, whom you have empirical, verifiable evidence for is certain to you (as certain as anything can be, since we may be living in the Matrix after all) and that certainty extends to a being that you don't have empirical, verifiable evidence for? And, on top of that, you are not willing to say that you might be wrong about your religious opinions, but I'M the one who is closed-minded because of what exactly?

"But once you find truth how could you remain uncertain?"

Because you don't know that you have the "Truth." But, this leads us back to square one. You assert that you have the truth and that we are wrong, so I will assert that I equally have the truth and that you are wrong. My claim is just as valid as yours, so there's no reason to accept your claim at all, is there (not by your own words should I accept your claim).

"If I were still uncertain then I would not yet have found truth."

This is a non sequitor. You don't need to be certain of something in order to be correct.

"If certainty is never possible then finding truth is never possible."

Incorrect. If you are in a spelling bee and you are uncertain how to spell a word that you are given, does that mean that you can't successfully spell it?

"I do seek to understand your view point. But I don’t seek to do so to adopt it."

No, you aren't seeking to understand our views - not when you come in with the attitude that we are wrong no matter what. Until you are humble enough to admit that you aren't infallible, then you won't understand where others are coming from. This is a big reason, IMO, why you made statements about Obama not being a true Xian, for instance.

Karla said...

Anonymous, I never said Obama wasn't a true Christian, and in fact, I said I would never and could never say such a thing.

I have also not used the term "wrong" toward any of you. Obviously if God exist and you think He doesn't your view would not be in alignment with reality and would be wrong. I think we agree He cannot both exist and not-exist at the same time.

Two opposite views cannot be equally valid. Either one of them lines up with truth or neither of them do. Two opposite opinions can be equally important to consider. But two truth claims cannot be equally true.

Moreover, I have given testimony of empirical verifiable evidence of the existence of God numerous times everything from the historicity of Jesus to modern miracles I've witnessed and experienced. You can say that it's not enough evidence for you, but it is some evidence.

There is a lot I don't know. I am not infallible. There are some things that I do know, one thing most important, is that God exists, unless of course I am greatly deluded and the last 28 years of my life have been one great illusion of enormous portions and millions of others have joined in my illusions of God's presence.

I have not taken any kind of attitude with you of my being superior or you all being all wrong in all things. I wouldn't say that to anyone of any religion or non-religion.

Is it merely my assertion of certainty that bothers you so much? That you think to be incredible and impossible? I am trying to understand how you don't believe in God. How that is possible. That has me confused even still. I think maybe if only Christians explained things better. Or if you could see the things I've seen or hear the testimonies of the wonders of God maybe you would have more to consider. . .

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"Anonymous, I never said Obama wasn't a true Christian, and in fact, I said I would never and could never say such a thing."

You implied such, and I have no reason not to think that you have tendencies to think such, especially the way you argue such things. Saying that he holds "Anti-Xian" positions leads exactly to the things that I'm seeing. That YOU and YOU ALONE (or at least you and those who agree with you) are the true arbiters of what it means to be a Xian. That only you and those that agree with you know the secret handshake and know the "Truth" and can be true Xians. This is closed-mindedness to a blinding degree.

"I have also not used the term "wrong" toward any of you."

It's the same as saying it though. You counter my claim by saying, "I'm right," meaning that I am wrong. Don't try to play semantic games.

"Two opposite views cannot be equally valid."

Be careful of this, because I might just have an example that can prove you wrong.

"Moreover, I have given testimony of empirical verifiable evidence of the existence of God numerous times everything from the historicity of Jesus to modern miracles I've witnessed and experienced. You can say that it's not enough evidence for you, but it is some evidence."

No, you haven't. There isn't any verifiable evidence that Jesus existed. Many scholars think that he probably did, but that the stories attributed to him are most likely not true. We certainly don't have the evidence that suggests the stories are true. And, your testimony of miracles does not constitute empirical, verifiable evidence. In order to do that, you would have to subject these healings to scientific scrutiny and show that they are repeatable, etc. Further, you would have to show some way of verifying that it is YOUR god at work and not some other force that is either natural and unknown to us, or supernatural but different from YOUR god. If you are going to discuss these types of issues, it would behoove you to learn about the terms that you are throwing around.

"There is a lot I don't know. I am not infallible."

You are claiming that you CAN NOT BE WRONG about your religious interpretations. This is a claim to infallibility. Whether this claim means that you can't be wrong about a math problem or not is beside the point.

"There are some things that I do know, one thing most important, is that God exists, unless of course I am greatly deluded and the last 28 years of my life have been one great illusion of enormous portions and millions of others have joined in my illusions of God's presence."

FFS! OR, FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME, YOU COULD SIMPLY BE MISTAKEN!!!! And, yes I typed that in all capitals, because it seems like I have to correct you on this all the friggin' time! Why is it that you refuse to be honest about this point? Your false dichotomy (or "trichotomy when you add in the 'liar' part) has been refuted multiple times by simply pointing out that one can simply be mistaken. Yet, you continue to act as if there are only the limited choices that you set forth. THIS IS HIGHLY DISHONEST OF YOU!!!!!!

"Is it merely my assertion of certainty that bothers you so much?"

No, it is the fact that you are wrong about it. How do you know that you don't live in the Matrix?

"I am trying to understand how you don't believe in God. How that is possible."

Lack of evidence and a preponderance of evidence against the god(s) that has(have) been put forth. Don't you think it odd that people such as me and CK would not have met this god that you say supposedly wants us to be with him? Doesn't that strike you as odd? And, you can chalk it up to a failing on our part, but shouldn't this infinitely powerful god be able to get through to us, regardless? And, don't fall back on the free will defense (free will is not compatible with an omni-max god and even if it were...) since giving us more information would give us more freedom in our choices, not less. You said yourself, "The truth will set you free."

"I think maybe if only Christians explained things better."

It's not about explaining, it's about producing evidence.

"Or if you could see the things I've seen or hear the testimonies of the wonders of God maybe you would have more to consider. . ."

Don't be so presumptuous. How do you know that we haven't? In fact, Mike aka Monolithma (sp?) has specifically said that he has encountered such things and he realizes now that they are bunk. What will you say to him?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I have given testimony of empirical verifiable evidence of the existence of God numerous times everything from the historicity of Jesus to modern miracles I've witnessed and experienced.

But what you say is proof of God we do not regard as proof. Even if Jesus as an historical character existed - so what? Does that prove the existence of God? No, it doesn't.

Even if miracles do happen (which I don't believe) this *at best* only shows that miracles happen. It does NOT prove the existence of God.

When you read about miracles that apparently happen in India - attributed to Gnash or Kali are you saying that these Gods produced the miracles, or do you think that *your* God produced them (letting the poor Hindu's believe it was actually *their* Gods) or do you think that they are mistaken and that the miracles never happened?

karla said: You can say that it's not enough evidence for you, but it is some evidence.

No. It isn't.

karla said: But two truth claims cannot be equally true.

No. But they *can* be equally false.

karla said: I am trying to understand how you don't believe in God. How that is possible. That has me confused even still.

I don't understand how so many people believe in God to be honest with you. It *completely* bemuses me. Certainly no one has managed to explain it to me. Maybe you have to be inside the bubble to appreciate it [laughs]

karla said: I think maybe if only Christians explained things better.

...and then you think we'd believe? You think that our atheism is caused by your lack of communication skills? [laughs] I'm sure being *unintentially* funny.

karla said: Or if you could see the things I've seen or hear the testimonies of the wonders of God maybe you would have more to consider. .

Strange as it may seem to you - I honestly don't think so!

Karla said...

Anonymous, I'm sorry to have exasperated you. I don't wish to irritate you. I will respond to your and Cyber Kitten's post later when I have more time. That is if you (anon) would like a response to it.

Karla said...

You implied such, and I have no reason not to think that you have tendencies to think such, especially the way you argue such things. Saying that he holds "Anti-Xian" positions leads exactly to the things that I'm seeing. That YOU and YOU ALONE (or at least you and those who agree with you) are the true arbiters of what it means to be a Xian. That only you and those that agree with you know the secret handshake and know the "Truth" and can be true Xians. This is closed-mindedness to a blinding degree."

I do not remember wording anything that way. I also do not hold this mentality. You are assigning it to me, I don't assign it to myself.

_________

I am not saying I can't be wrong about my interpretation of Scripture or different things about the Christian life. I am asserting a very specific truth, namely a good loving God exist and He wants relationship with us, and it is possible to have that relationship with Him. That's it. I do know this to be true. I won't deny that, I can't deny that. If I didn't know it to be true there would be no reason for me to waste words about it.

I sympathize with Mike's story. But I don't share his conclusions. I don't believe he claimed to have witnessed miracles with his eyes that were later proved to be bunk.

Anonymous, I don't know anything about your story. I don't know why you haven't seen evidence for God. I don't know why you think the way you do. Just because you have not yet seen truth in Christ doesn't mean you never will. I have hope that you and Cyberkitten and Mike and others will one day.

Anonymous said...

"I do not remember wording anything that way. I also do not hold this mentality. You are assigning it to me, I don't assign it to myself."

The bigger point is that you seem to think that your interpretations are the only interpretations that are or can be true.

"I am not saying I can't be wrong about my interpretation of Scripture or different things about the Christian life. I am asserting a very specific truth, namely a good loving God exist and He wants relationship with us, and it is possible to have that relationship with Him."

Your second sentence is based on not being wrong about your interpretations! In the space of two sentences, you have contradicted yourself.

"If I didn't know it to be true there would be no reason for me to waste words about it."

So, unless you have absolute certainty about something, it's not worth talking about? C'mon. You'd be talking about this...indeed you are talking about this even though all you have is your belief that this is so. Again, how do you know that we aren't in the Matrix?

"I sympathize with Mike's story. But I don't share his conclusions. I don't believe he claimed to have witnessed miracles with his eyes that were later proved to be bunk."

Yet, you claim that we should believe your stories? That you have presented us with empirical and verifiable proof?

"Anonymous, I don't know anything about your story."

So, why do you presume to tell me about my story?

"I don't know why you think the way you do."

I've told you multiple times now.

"Just because you have not yet seen truth in Christ doesn't mean you never will."

And, just because you *think* that you have the truth, doesn't mean you do.

Karla said...

You have no qualms against my claiming certainty that my husband exist, only that I can be certain that God exist. You seem to have certainty that I can know the one and not the other, yet deny me the same courtesy to express certainty. My certainty does not make something true, nor is it evidence for it being true. I can be certain that I am married and find out years later that the paperwork was misfiled and the pastor didn't have proper licensing and that I'm not legally married. That possibility doesn't change my certainty now. Nor does my certainty give proof to you that I'm married. I could be lying, "mistaken" or deluded or what have you.

BTW if someone thinks they are God and are mistaken I think that falls into deluded and not simply mistaken. It's not like being mistaken about the color of your socks. A sane person can be mistaken about that as you pointed out, but a sane person isn't mistaken about being God, they must be CRAZY if they are not telling the truth. But since you don't believe there is evidence for Jesus existence you can throw into the mix that there wasn't a Jesus to be lying, deluded or telling the truth. That would make more sense if it could be validated that he didn't exist when I have not heard anyone but the new atheists authors advocate such an idea. Even the extremely liberal Jesus Seminar people accept that he lived (they don't accept his miracles or resurrection, but the except that he was a real person.

I've said plenty of times that you don't have to believe anything I say. You don't have to talk to me. You don't have to read anything I write.

Karla said...

Cyberkitten,

To answer your question about miracles being attributed to deities of other religions. . . I don't believe God is doing them and deceiving them. If there are supernatural things happening such as happen with Witch Doctors and Physics or any spiritualist supernatural occurrence that is not God, it is the work of the demonic forces for they are deceptive and they do imitate things God does but they do so to cause harm and not good.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I don't believe God is doing them and deceiving them. If there are supernatural things happening such as happen with Witch Doctors and Physics or any spiritualist supernatural occurrence that is not God, it is the work of the demonic forces for they are deceptive and they do imitate things God does but they do so to cause harm and not good.

So... lets see if I understand you.

If its a *real* miracle then God is responsible. But if its a *fake* miracle - that to the untrained eye may be indistinguisable from a real miracle - then 'demonic forces' are the cause?

So, does a *fake* miracle need to cause harm straight away? Or maybe within the first few days of the event? Is there a time limit where an apparently good miracle turns out to be a bad miracle? How can the average untutored person tell the difference?

Oh, and this sort of thing is another reason why I find the whole God thing so hard to swallow. You can't just accept the existence of God.

You have to accept miracles and demonic forces too. In fact the whole 'package' has so many elements to it that I find it *impossible* to swallow - because it doesn't come in bite-sized pieces but as something as big as the whole universe. Well, I'm afraid that my mouth just doesn't open that wide nor am I so 'open minded' to accept the existence of demons already..... [shakes head saddly]

Do I also have to accept the existence of magic, witchcraft, vampires, werewolves, fairies, elves and a plethora of other fantasy creatures too? Do you want or expect me to believe in dragons? I mean... please!

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"You have no qualms against my claiming certainty that my husband exist, only that I can be certain that God exist."

No, you're not understanding me. You can not be certain that you aren't living in the Matrix. Your husband could be a computer program that was input into your head, so he might not even be real. Now, that said, we can be very certain that things for which we have empirical, verifiable evidence do indeed exist. god does not fit into this category.

"My certainty does not make something true, nor is it evidence for it being true."

Exactly! Your certainty in god does not make it truth.

"BTW if someone thinks they are God and are mistaken I think that falls into deluded and not simply mistaken."

Not necessarily for one. For two, you are making the assumption that Jesus said exactly what was attributed to him, which is another hole in the argument and another possibility.

"A sane person can be mistaken about that as you pointed out, but a sane person isn't mistaken about being God, they must be CRAZY if they are not telling the truth."

Or they've been misled or lied to, or any number of other things. Or maybe they were misreported. Or maybe they didn't mean it literally, but people took it that way. There's many possibilities here, not just the three canned ones you insist upon.

"That would make more sense if it could be validated that he didn't exist when I have not heard anyone but the new atheists authors advocate such an idea."

Why is it up to me to prove he didn't exist?

"I've said plenty of times that you don't have to believe anything I say."

Actually, I would, if you presented actual evidence that was compelling. The reason your statement is correct is because you don't present evidence, compelling or otherwise.

Karla said...

Cyberkitten, I don't think anything that is truly supernatural is fake no matter the source. Something real happened no matter what caused it that is out of the ordinary or natural. The only thing I would call fake is someone tricking someone that something supernatural happened like a slight of hand.

Of course, believing in God opens the door to a lot of spirituality that effects everything. If it didn't, I think that would be strange. I'm not talking about fantasy stories man has created, but supernatural experiences are abundant and they are distinct from fantasy stories. All our man made stories are our expression of desire for the supernatural. We know something greater exist and we try to capture that through imagination of something greater. But we can do that because the real exist.

Anonymous said...

"All our man made stories are our expression of desire for the supernatural."

Oh, the irony.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I'm not talking about fantasy stories man has created, but supernatural experiences are abundant and they are distinct from fantasy stories.

OK. Can you answer this then:

If I ever believe in God would you also expect me to believe in the existence of any (or all) of the following as well....

Angels
Demons
Ghosts
Witches
Vampires
Werewolves
Succubi
Fairies
Elves
Dragons

A simple 'yes' or 'no' will suffice....

Also... If I believe in God would you expect me to give up any of my beliefs in the Natural world that I presently hold on things like:

The Age of the Universe
The Age of the Earth
Evolution
The demise of the Dinosaurs

Again, a simple 'yes' or 'no' will suffice.

Karla said...

OK. Can you answer this then:

If I ever believe in God would you also expect me to believe in the existence of any (or all) of the following as well....

Angels
Demons
Ghosts
Witches
Vampires
Werewolves
Succubi
Fairies
Elves
Dragons


My response with regards to Christianity not simple theism: Only Angels and Demons from that list. The only other thing I would say from that list is that there are demonic powers behind witchcraft. The other things you mention are only fantasy stories.

A simple 'yes' or 'no' will suffice....

Also... If I believe in God would you expect me to give up any of my beliefs in the Natural world that I presently hold on things like:

The Age of the Universe
The Age of the Earth
Evolution
The demise of the Dinosaurs

Again, a simple 'yes' or 'no' will suffice.

No. Many Christians believe in an old earth/universe and evolution. Many believe what's popularly asserted that the dinosaurs went extent before man came on the scene. None of those things have any bearing on God's existence or non-existence. If you believe evolution it is only a system of how things work not how things got here. D'nesh Dizousa believes as you on all things things and is a Christian. Francis Collins who mapped the DNA agrees with him.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: My response with regards to Christianity not simple theism: Only Angels and Demons from that list. The only other thing I would say from that list is that there are demonic powers behind witchcraft. The other things you mention are only fantasy stories.

Phew... *Only* Angels & Demons... That's not so bad I guess. [grin]

I would, of course, lump them *all* in as fantasy creatures (including God) but I guess that my definition of fantasy is more inclusive than yours.

karla said: Many Christians believe in an old earth/universe and evolution.

Personally I don't regard such things as matters of 'belief'.

karla said: Many believe what's popularly asserted that the dinosaurs went extent before man came on the scene.

...and I'll think you'll find that the extinction of the dinosaurs before mankind existed falls into the category called *fact*.

karla said: None of those things have any bearing on God's existence or non-existence.

So, where do you stand on these issues?

karla said: If you believe evolution it is only a system of how things work not how things got here.

So, if I was a Christian you would expect me to abandon Darwinian Evolution as an explanation for the diversity of life on Earth?

Karla said...

Cyberkitten, being a Christian is about having a relationship with God. That relationship is not contingent on your intellectual knowledge about the world. You can be vastly uneducated or a genius. It doesn't matter. It's all about a love relationship with the Creator of the Universe. There is no "have to" in the questions you ask. We are all exploring these questions and we don't have to have those answers all figured out.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Cyberkitten, being a Christian is about having a relationship with God.

If that is the case, why does so much else follow?

Why do some Christians at least feel the need to deny reality in order that they can have a relationship with God?

Karla said...

Cyber Kitten asked

"If that is the case, why does so much else follow?

Why do some Christians at least feel the need to deny reality in order that they can have a relationship with God?"

We don't believe in denying reality. We love truth. We don't always trust the scientific community and there has been a gap between them, but it isn't a gap that is supported by true Christianity, it's a cultural gap that has been created by misunderstanding and fear and by some revisionist history at times. The Christians I know love science, one of my friends loves watching Nova and loves listening to Stephen Hawkins. I have friends who have just finished their physiology degrees. They too love science. I think we have to get beyond these stereotypes of what pop culture tells us about Christians and about atheists. I think if we really take the time to get to know people we will find that things aren't as we thought. I won't say I haven't met Christians that fit these stereotypes. I think all stereotypes come from somewhere, but it doesn't mean it's the norm.

The Bible does address a lot of topics about life in many spheres and subjects, it has enhanced not detracted from my understanding of the world. The problem to me is that it isn't reality to only accept a natural world and ignore our spirituality and the supernatural. Reality affirms both. Believing in God doesn't deny reality for life in fantasy land. It is the real reality. It is the true truth as Francis Schaeffer calls it. C.S. Lewis talks about how the important thing about the sun isn't that He sees the sun, but that he sees all else by the sun. The sun gives the light to see. God gives us the eyes to see. We are all still discovering the reality around us. We don't have to fit a mold and deny the system of evolution or adopt certain politics. We've actually just been spending a lot of time discussing that at our church meetings -- that a lot of Christians think they need to believe this cookie cutter way or to act a cookie cutter way to belong. And in reality God loves diversity and He loves each of us being creatively who he made us to be and we ought not to be loosing our individuality to anyway. We ought not to take our view on life from anyone except from Him directly. We teach people about how we can recognize the voice of God and live out of that place with Him so that NO ONE is telling anyone how to behave or what to believe. We witness with what is truth because we have the Spirit of truth dwelling in us, not because we are forced to believe anything. I don't know what the churches are like in Europe, I expect there is a lot of traditional very austere churches, but I have also heard of grassroots youth churches taking root there where people practices this community and diversity of which I speak. I'm sorry that was a long answer.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: We don't always trust the scientific community and there has been a gap between them, but it isn't a gap that is supported by true Christianity, it's a cultural gap that has been created by misunderstanding and fear and by some revisionist history at times.

What is it that you don't trust? Can you give me an example?

karla said: I won't say I haven't met Christians that fit these stereotypes. I think all stereotypes come from somewhere, but it doesn't mean it's the norm.

So Young Earth Creationists are a very vocal minority then? That's good to know.....

karla said: The Bible does address a lot of topics about life in many spheres and subjects, it has enhanced not detracted from my understanding of the world.

Funnily I don't feel that my understanding of the world is any poorer for never having read the Bible.

karla said: The problem to me is that it isn't reality to only accept a natural world and ignore our spirituality and the supernatural. Reality affirms both.

So you keep saying. I'm afraid that I don't agree.

karla said: We don't have to fit a mold and deny the system of evolution or adopt certain politics.

Then you have to wonder - or at least I do - just why some people feel the need to deny Evolution. Is it a simple misunderstanding do you think?

karla said: I don't know what the churches are like in Europe, I expect there is a lot of traditional very austere churches...

I've been in quite a few - not just in England but all over Europe - and most of them are pretty amazing actually rather than austere. Though I guess there are a number of austere Protestant churches in the UK.

karla said: I have also heard of grassroots youth churches taking root there where people practices this community and diversity of which I speak.

Oh, there are plenty of 'trendy' churches about trying to be 'hip' and attract a youth following. It doesn't seem to be working very well though as Church attendence has been steadily declining here for 50+ years and shows little sign of picking up again.

Karla said...

Cyber Kitten said “What is it that you don't trust? Can you give me an example?”

I think the worldview someone is operating in has a lot to do with how they will interpret things whether it be science or history or anything else. I really want to study the advent of how an earth of billions of years old came to be. I know evolutionary theory requires such a long time period so was it determined because it is necessary to support evolution? Was evidence found because it was needed to be found? Could the evidence be interpreted another way? You guys ask me these same questions about what I believe. I think we do need to look at what makes the most sense. However, to me the age of the earth is inconsequential to anything that affects me or the validity of Scripture. Just the same such discussions and exploration intrigues me regardless of the conclusions. I think as a whole culture has this idea that there is a division between science and Christianity and so Christians who don’t know better believe that science is a threat to Christianity, when it emphatically is not. This idea of a division is new and is based on false assumptions.


Cyber Kitten said : ”So Young Earth Creationists are a very vocal minority then? That's good to know.....”

I don’t know how many Christians believe this way. I would say most don’t give much thought to how old the earth is. It isn’t relevant to daily life or relationship with God. Those who care about it being thus and are vocal about it as if it affects anything substantial are few. The media just makes it sound like more. To me the bottom line is that God created it all. It doesn’t bother me if people think He did so over a long period of time.

Cyber Kitten “Funnily I don't feel that my understanding of the world is any poorer for never having read the Bible.”

You’ve never read the Bible? How can you know if there is something there that would open up your way of thinking if you haven’t read it?

karla said: The problem to me is that it isn't reality to only accept a natural world and ignore our spirituality and the supernatural. Reality affirms both.

Cyber Kitten “So you keep saying. I'm afraid that I don't agree. “

I know you don’t.


”Then you have to wonder - or at least I do - just why some people feel the need to deny Evolution. Is it a simple misunderstanding do you think?”

Not as many people are concerned with giving any thought to such things as you think. I wish people would think more about broader things and learn more about the world around them. I find few who want to engage any of these issues, most who care are vocal and are not representing the rest of the Church. I am not saying I agree with evolution. I am merely saying, while I want to learn more, it doesn’t make much difference if God was the originator. The only response to Christians asserting God created the natural world is evolution, and yet I think all honest scientists will tell you that neither Darwin nor evolution has anything to do with origins it only explains a system of how things might work, not how that system started.


Cyberkitten: “I've been in quite a few - not just in England but all over Europe - and most of them are pretty amazing actually rather than austere. Though I guess there are a number of austere Protestant churches in the UK.”

I think I meant orthodox like very old way of doing things verses contemporary. I would love to see the architecture and beauty of the old church buildings in Europe one day first hand.


Cyber Kitten: “Oh, there are plenty of 'trendy' churches about trying to be 'hip' and attract a youth following. It doesn't seem to be working very well though as Church attendance has been steadily declining here for 50+ years and shows little sign of picking up again.”

I have heard that. If you ever hear that Ravi Zacharias or anyone from his ministry is coming to speak somewhere there on many of the issues we have discussed, I highly recommend checking out his meeting. He is a phenomenal speaker and is extremely well educated and travels all over the world. He is continually meeting with dignitaries in varies countries even in the Muslim world by their request. I know he comes to the UK often.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I think the worldview someone is operating in has a lot to do with how they will interpret things whether it be science or history or anything else.

Indeed, as we prove every time we debate things here.

karla said: I know evolutionary theory requires such a long time period so was it determined because it is necessary to support evolution?

As far as I am aware they where arrived at independently.

karla said: Was evidence found because it was needed to be found?

Are you asking if the evidence was *fabricated*? I think that if it was the case it would have been uncovered by now - unless you think there's some kind of conspiracy going on?

karla said: I think we do need to look at what makes the most sense.

Or we could just look at the *facts* of the matter - whether they 'make sense' or not. If science merely confirmed 'common sense' we'd still believe that the Sun went around the Earth!

karla said: However, to me the age of the earth is inconsequential to anything that affects me or the validity of Scripture.

Even if its 4.5 Billion years old? With humanity only being a few million years old? This would be inconsequential to you?

karla said: I think as a whole culture has this idea that there is a division between science and Christianity and so Christians who don’t know better believe that science is a threat to Christianity, when it emphatically is not.

It most certainly doesn't *need* to be a threat.

karla said: This idea of a division is new and is based on false assumptions.

Since about Galilleo wasn't it - about 550 years - so not really 'new' in that sense.

karla said: It doesn’t bother me if people think He did so over a long period of time.

But the age of the Earth is not about belief but about facts. People think and believe many things. Some are true, some are not. We can all believe things that are not true. Actual physical facts are independent of belief.

karla said: You’ve never read the Bible?

Nope. I never had any reason to. I did have a New Testament on my shelf for 35 years unopened but I gave it to a charity shop to clear some space for other things.

karla said: How can you know if there is something there that would open up your way of thinking if you haven’t read it?

Oh, I know *of* it - I mean the basics are pretty hard to avoid in the West - even today. But from what I know of it I seriously doubt if it would 'open up my way of thinking' any more than what I'm already reading. There are millions of books I've never read, and millions I will never read. The Bible has never been particularly high on my list of 'must reads'. It still isn't and I never expect to read it.

karla said: I wish people would think more about broader things and learn more about the world around them.

At last! Something we can agree on! [laughs]

karla said: I am not saying I agree with evolution.

What do you mean by 'agree with'?

karla said: I think all honest scientists will tell you that neither Darwin nor evolution has anything to do with origins it only explains a system of how things might work, not how that system started.

Correct - Darwinian Evolution says nothing about the origins of life, it just gives a *very* good explanation about what happened in the 4 billion years since life emerged here.

karla said: I think I meant orthodox like very old way of doing things verses contemporary.

I have no idea. The last religious service I attended was over 30 years ago (not counting my father's funeral or weddings of friends). I also don't know anyone who attends church so its a complete mystery to me what they actually do in there.

karla said: I would love to see the architecture and beauty of the old church buildings in Europe one day first hand.

I've visited several major churches in Paris, Rome and Southern Spain. They are generally *very* impressive.

Karla said...

"Since about Galilleo wasn't it - about 550 years - so not really 'new' in that sense. "

That's part of what I mean by false assumptions. If you hear the full story about Galilleo it had very little to do with his scientific claims. What popular history tells us about Galilleo is not what really happened.

Also taking other people's word about the most influential book in history isn't a very good idea.

Sorry I didn't hit you back point for point, but I only have a few minutes, if I missed something you really wanted me to address just repeat it for me. Thanks.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: What popular history tells us about Galilleo is not what really happened.

Oh? So what *really* happened?

karla said: Also taking other people's word about the most influential book in history isn't a very good idea.

Well, I not 'taking other peoples words' about anything.... and although its certainly *one of* the most influencal books there are others in the running.... the Koran is the obviously contender - and there are Secular books too.

karla said: if I missed something you really wanted me to address just repeat it for me.

You know... You *really* give the impression sometimes that you're avoiding answering direct questions.....

Karla said...

Cyber kitten, I'm not trying to avoid anything. I am usually jumping on here while at work between busy spells at work and I don't always have time to be as thorough as I would like. I will go back and hit your last comments as soon as I get time.

I'll do a post on Galileo soon too. It's too long to communicate accurately in a comment.

Karla said...

karla said: I think the worldview someone is operating in has a lot to do with how they will interpret things whether it be science or history or anything else.

Cyber Kitten “Indeed, as we prove every time we debate things here.”

Yep. That’s why we must examine our worldviews first. If we have big worldview differences the other things built on those worldviews can rise or fall with the validity of the worldview. Sometimes they just need tweaking, but sometimes if the presuppositions are incorrect the whole structure needs rebuilding.


Cyber Kitten “As far as I am aware they where arrived at independently.”

Okay. I still want to do a study on it sometime.

karla said: Was evidence found because it was needed to be found?

Cyber Kitten said: “Are you asking if the evidence was *fabricated*? I think that if it was the case it would have been uncovered by now - unless you think there's some kind of conspiracy going on?”

Nothing so intentional as that. Like I said our worldview can dictate a lot if our most basic foundational aspects of our worldview aren’t in line with reality all that we see through those glasses can be distorted. It doesn’t mean anyone intentionally did anything.


Cyber Kitten: “Or we could just look at the *facts* of the matter - whether they 'make sense' or not. If science merely confirmed 'common sense' we'd still believe that the Sun went around the Earth!”

I could say the same thing about looking at the facts about Jesus Resurrection, but if your presuppositions say that miracles are impossible and God is impossible the facts will be interpreted through that lens. What if all the facts show as I see them to show that God’s Son did live on this earth and did resurrect from the dead? Will your worldview allow you to even examine this possibility?

Cyber Kitten: Even if its 4.5 Billion years old? With humanity only being a few million years old? This would be inconsequential to you?

How would that knowledge affect how I live? It would be a fascinating exploration into the natural world, but how would that particular “reality” effect my daily life? What should it mean for me?


Cyber Kitten “It (science) most certainly doesn't *need* to be a threat.”

Agreed. I don’t think it is. I think people have falsely thought it to be on both sides. Some think more science will eradicate religion and some on religion side believe them. I don’t see why they would believe them, but some do.


CyberKitten “Since about Galilleo wasn't it - about 550 years - so not really 'new' in that sense.”

There wasn’t a big division between science and religion with Galilleo. I’ll recount the story in a post as soon as I get time to do so. I have at least three books that give lots of details about what really occurred and give sources of how the popularly accepted version of the story got to be so popular.







Cyber Kitten “But the age of the Earth is not about belief but about facts. People think and believe many things. Some are true, some are not. We can all believe things that are not true. Actual physical facts are independent of belief.”

Um, don’t agree. I think a person “believes” facts just like they “believe non-facts”. Using the word “believe” doesn’t mean it isn’t a fact being adhered to. I believe my chair will hold me while I sit at the computer. I believe it’s cold outside. You seem to equate “belief” with faith and facts with certainty. How are facts independent of belief? As Anonymous likes to ask, how can we be sure we aren’t in a Matrix? We can only trust the facts because of believing that there are facts to be trusted. I am seeing a double standard with regard to certainty. We believe that our senses and reason can allow us to comprehend and apprehend the factual.

Cyber Kitten : “Oh, I know *of* it (the Bible)- I mean the basics are pretty hard to avoid in the West - even today. But from what I know of it I seriously doubt if it would 'open up my way of thinking' any more than what I'm already reading. There are millions of books I've never read, and millions I will never read. The Bible has never been particularly high on my list of 'must reads'. It still isn't and I never expect to read it.”

Hmm. I’m surprised you can assume so much about it when you haven’t read it or investigated it for yourself. I would rather you read it than take my word or anyone else’s word about what it has to say. At least read some of it. The book of John will give you a pretty good understanding of the life, heart, and ministry of Jesus. Just a thought.

karla said: I wish people would think more about broader things and learn more about the world around them.

Cyber Kitten said “At last! Something we can agree on! [laughs]”

Lol. I love learning and I hope to pass that love on to others. It’s good to think about all kinds of things and to learn about the world.

karla said: I am not saying I agree with evolution.

Cyber: What do you mean by 'agree with'?

Ah, here is where you say its fact. Please refer back to what I said about worldview behind things.


Cyber Kitten: Correct - Darwinian Evolution says nothing about the origins of life, it just gives a *very* good explanation about what happened in the 4 billion years since life emerged here.

Then why do people keep giving evolution as a proof that God didn’t originate it? Even Stephen Hawkings says there has to have been a “first mover”. Some scientists are saying there had to be something metaphysical to originate the natural world. Others give evolution a proof of no Creator and yet it doesn’t answer those questions. Alleging how the system works doesn’t do anything to counter how the system got here. And if science can’t explore metaphysical explanations then it can’t deny them either.

Anonymous said...

I would like all people who say that science doesn't matter to them to stop using their computers and modern appliances and see if they have the same view of science after that. If you think evolution isn't true, then stop using medicine (for an obvious example).

And, no, evolution is both theory and fact. It's a fact that things are evolving, as certain as any fact in science can possibly be. It's a fact that the theory of evolution is based upon untold numbers of facts. It's not about some scientific conspiracy. It's not a cabal of atheist scientists that are pushing evolution on the unsuspecting public. Making these kinds of arguments shows how very little you actually know about how science works and is practiced. Please take it from someone who has actually published peer-reviewed papers that you really need to educate yourself on what science is and does before you continue to make such ignorant statements.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Sometimes they just need tweaking, but sometimes if the presuppositions are incorrect the whole structure needs rebuilding.

Indeed - though I'm guessing here that we both think that the *other person's* presuppositions are the incorrect ones!

karla said: Like I said our worldview can dictate a lot if our most basic foundational aspects of our worldview aren’t in line with reality all that we see through those glasses can be distorted. It doesn’t mean anyone intentionally did anything.

So the scientists are deluded or in some way blinded to the truth by their worldview - so much so that they see an old Earth where there really is a young one or where they see dinosaurs dying out 65 million years ago instead of a few thousand years? That's one *amazing* world view if it can distort reality to that extent!

karla said: What if all the facts show as I see them to show that God’s Son did live on this earth and did resurrect from the dead? Will your worldview allow you to even examine this possibility?

Yes. I even accept the possibility of God - it's just that so far I see nothing to indicate He exists... but He might... [grin]

karla said: How would that knowledge affect how I live? It would be a fascinating exploration into the natural world, but how would that particular “reality” effect my daily life? What should it mean for me?

Probably nothing at all - but that's not the point is it? Many facts - especially about historical events have zero relevance about how we live our lives. It's still good to know what really happened though. But you still haven't made it clear what *your* opinion is on the subject.

karla said: There wasn’t a big division between science and religion with Galilleo. I’ll recount the story in a post as soon as I get time to do so.

Oh, I'll look forward to that.... The book references might be useful along with your posting on the subject.

karla said: How are facts independent of belief?

Because no matter how hard that you *believe* you can fly - the fact of gravity will kill you dead every time.

karla said: As Anonymous likes to ask, how can we be sure we aren’t in a Matrix?

There is absolutely no way to tell. But I think that the chance of you dodging bullets - never mind stopping them - is pretty slim.

karla said: I am seeing a double standard with regard to certainty. We believe that our senses and reason can allow us to comprehend and apprehend the factual.

To a large extent, yes. We can never be *absolutely* certain of anything - but some of our guesses seem to be pretty damned good!

karla said: Ah, here is where you say its fact. Please refer back to what I said about worldview behind things.

That doesn't really answer my question. Maybe you need to do a post sometime on your views on Evolution.

karla said: Then why do people keep giving evolution as a proof that God didn’t originate it?

No idea. Evolution says nothing about origins. It 'just' shows a completely naturalistic expanation of the history and diversity of life on Earth without the need of a designer or god-like guiding hand.

karla said: Alleging how the system works doesn’t do anything to counter how the system got here.

Darwinian Evolution is a *very* good way of explaining life on Earth. It's certainly by far the best explanation we have. When we find life on other worlds we'll be able to compare their evolution to our evolution and learn a whole lot more. But how it all started off is still pretty much unknown as far as I know - but that doesn't mean that we should be looking for any kind of supernatural cause.

karla said: And if science can’t explore metaphysical explanations then it can’t deny them either.

Metaphysics is Philosophy not Science. Generally speaking Science does not deny God - its just that Scientific explanations make the introduction of God as an *extra* explanation rather redundant. I mean, if you've already adequately explained something - why add an addition deity? It just doesn't add anything to the argument.

Karla said...

I'm sorry I've been trying this last hour to get to these comments but the phone at work is ringing off the hook! I'll respond when I can.

Karla said...

"So the scientists are deluded or in some way blinded to the truth by their worldview - so much so that they see an old Earth where there really is a young one or where they see dinosaurs dying out 65 million years ago instead of a few thousand years? That's one *amazing* world view if it can distort reality to that extent!"


Not all things, but some things have two different views by scientists. Some scientists say that the natural world had to have a metaphysical origin and others don't. I think this is a worldview difference. I don't think all science has worldview attached to it, for things like the existence of gravity doesn't have implications for metaphysical or moral worldviews. But other things do.

"Probably nothing at all - but that's not the point is it? Many facts - especially about historical events have zero relevance about how we live our lives. It's still good to know what really happened though."

I agree with you on this.

"But you still haven't made it clear what *your* opinion is on the subject."

I have not researched the issue of an old earth v. a young earth extensively enough. I have read a really good book by a Japanese scientist about how the Flood could have created much of what people believe to be old earth evidence. But I haven't read books by others supporting the old earth yet. I need to. I have read several apologist who accept the old earth dates. I have always believed in a young earth, but I haven't spent time yet to research it so I'm not fully convinced either way at this point.

As far as dinosaurs I believe they did roam the earth while men did. Cave walls and artifacts show amazing accuracy of what they looked like that our computer generated models based on fossils and bones are just now catching up to. I don't know how that would be possible if they hadn't seen them.
I was listening to a cryptozoologist a few months ago and he presented some good evidence for their existing alongside humanity. Job in the Bible describes what seems to be a dinosaur. How it would be possible to describe something one had never seen, I don't know.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
"Not all things, but some things have two different views by scientists. Some scientists say that the natural world had to have a metaphysical origin and others don't."

Please, please, please stop making such ignorant statements. Science doesn't care about such things, because it's all sorted out by the scientific method, data, and empirical evidence. No one is saying that evolution MUST be true because they assume that god doesn't exist. This is simply rubbish. The only people who are claiming analogous things are the creationist "scientists" who claim that science must conform to their pre-conceived beliefs in the literal 6-day creation event in Genesis. It simply does not follow that because one side is abusing science that the other side must be doing so as well, nor does it follow that both sides are equal in terms of standing.

"I have read a really good book by a Japanese scientist about how the Flood could have created much of what people believe to be old earth evidence."

And, it's wrong, as it contradicts all that we know about everything in terms of floods, paleontology, etc. In order to believe in the flood, you would have to disbelieve in many facts.

"But I haven't read books by others supporting the old earth yet. I need to."

Yes, you do, because the evidence is OVERWHELMING. Hell, you could go to talkorigins.org and find links to small bits and pieces of evidence that are enough to destroy the claims of a young Earth, and that's only the tip of the iceberg!

"As far as dinosaurs I believe they did roam the earth while men did."

Then, you must believe that god or the devil planted fake fossils to fool us?

"Cave walls and artifacts show amazing accuracy of what they looked like that our computer generated models based on fossils and bones are just now catching up to."

And, I've already presented the evidence (to you, you dishonest creationist) that these are FABRICATED! They are just as false/phony/fake as the supposed human footprints side-by-side with dinosaur footprints or the pottery that supposedly show dinosaurs on them. How can you make these claims even after being presented with the evidence that they are false? How do you square away your behavior here and your intellectual dishonesty?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I'm sorry I've been trying this last hour to get to these comments but the phone at work is ringing off the hook! I'll respond when I can.

That's OK. I'm not expecting immediate responses - especially taking into account the time difference!

karla said: Some scientists say that the natural world had to have a metaphysical origin and others don't.

I can't help but wonder how a scientist can support a metaphysical statement..... If they're making such statements then they have moved onto Philosophy and away from Science surely?

karla said: things like the existence of gravity doesn't have implications for metaphysical or moral worldviews. But other things do.

Such as?

karla said: But I haven't read books by others supporting the old earth yet. I need to. I have read several apologist who accept the old earth dates.

May I suggest that you read non-religious books on the subject?

karla said: I have always believed in a young earth...

Why?

karla said: As far as dinosaurs I believe they did roam the earth while men did.

Well, as dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago and humanity is about 2 million years old at best I suggest the likelihood that they ever met as pretty remote.

karla said: Cave walls and artifacts show amazing accuracy of what they looked like that our computer generated models based on fossils and bones are just now catching up to. I don't know how that would be possible if they hadn't seen them.

Can you post the pictures or put a link to them here? I've never heard of them.

karla said: Job in the Bible describes what seems to be a dinosaur. How it would be possible to describe something one had never seen, I don't know.

I think you'll find its call imagination. Humans are very good at making things up - how else do you think we have so many stories about fantastic creatures - unless you think that they *all* existed at some point in history? I mean how can such detailed descriptions of mermaids or unicorns exist if no one had ever seen one?

Anonymous said...

"The Flintstones" was NOT a documentary.

Karla said...

"I can't help but wonder how a scientist can support a metaphysical statement..... If they're making such statements then they have moved onto Philosophy and away from Science surely?"

I can accept that if it goes both ways. Dawkins speaks as a scientist does he not?

"Well, as dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago and humanity is about 2 million years old at best I suggest the likelihood that they ever met as pretty remote."

That's not proven. You say it like fact. How did a carcass with skin on it get pulled out of the ocean by a Japanese fishing boat twenty years ago if they went extinct that long ago? I heard of this book called Forbidden Archeology but it's like a $50 book so I haven't tracked it down to purchase it, but it is by a group of Krishna's that are not trying to support anything religious they just got interested in the topic and their research is said to support dinosaurs and humans existing at the same time. Maybe I can get it at the library. I have wanted to check it out for some time.

I will try and track down the info and pictures. I'll add that to my list. Also, it would be an incredible imagination to actually depict something that it takes our computer models to figure out based on modern science.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I can accept that if it goes both ways. Dawkins speaks as a scientist does he not?

Indeed he does. Which is probably why I found 'The God Delusion' so disapointing.

karla said: That's not proven. You say it like fact.

It is... pretty much. They argue about the detail but the 65 million year thing is agreed on by most people in the field.

karla said: How did a carcass with skin on it get pulled out of the ocean by a Japanese fishing boat twenty years ago if they went extinct that long ago?

You mean the bony fish they found? Amazing wasn't it? That species was supposed to have died out millions of years *before* the dinosaurs... but its existence doesnt disprove the fact that dino's died out LONG before we evolved.

karla said: I heard of this book called Forbidden Archeology but it's like a $50 book so I haven't tracked it down to purchase it, but it is by a group of Krishna's that are not trying to support anything religious they just got interested in the topic and their research is said to support dinosaurs and humans existing at the same time.

I think that you *really* need to improve the quality of the information you use to back up your arguments - a book that you've *heard about* written by *Krishna's*... & we're supposed to take this in preference to hundreds of years of scientific endevour? I think not!

Research the subject from a scientific point of view - not books *about* a scientific point of view and let us know what you think. There are plenty of fairly cheap books on the market - just search for Evolution on Amazon - or I'm sure that your library should have lots of them - especially with Darwin's 250th Anniversary this year.....

karla said: Also, it would be an incredible imagination to actually depict something that it takes our computer models to figure out based on modern science.

I'd really have to know more details about the cave drawings before I could comment on that... but humans do have very good imaginations. Just think of all the myths & fables we've thought up over the millennia...

Karla said...

The reason I brought up the book by the Krishna's is that they don't have a religious reason for their research. They aren't Christians, they aren't trying to support the Bible. I would think they believe in an eternal world (I'm not sure on that) so they would be an unbiased source. It is actually archeological research as far as I know. I haven't seen the book yet. I just find it interesting and want to check it out.

I am much more interested in archeology, history, and philosophy than science. I want to know the basics in science better than I do and some of the topics on Discovery channel do interest me. I'm more an English, History, and Theology/Philosophy person who loves to learn so I also want to learn more about Science. Oh I also am fascinated by Linguistics.

I'm looking into more info on the dinosaurs and I haven't forgotten about Galileo.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: The reason I brought up the book by the Krishna's is that they don't have a religious reason for their research.

Oh? I imagine they'd have a religious reason for just about everything!

karla said: They aren't Christians, they aren't trying to support the Bible.

Maybe not - but that doesn't mean they are not promoting Creationism. I don't know enough (actually almost nothing) about them to comment on their Origin beliefs.

karla said: I would think they believe in an eternal world (I'm not sure on that) so they would be an unbiased source.

I shouldn't expect to treat them as an unbiased source!

karla said: It is actually archeological research as far as I know.

....and they are actual archeologists?

karla said: I want to know the basics in science better than I do and some of the topics on Discovery channel do interest me.

I'm sure that there are many introductary science texts available to help you brush up on your knowledge. I wouldn't rely too much on the Discovery Channel.

karla said: I'm more an English, History, and Theology/Philosophy person who loves to learn so I also want to learn more about Science.

My degrees are all in the humanities and I only really studied science - mainly physics and biology - in school. So my knowledge in some areas is fairly scanty. I do intend reading more science based books this year though - so if I come across anything I think might interest you I'll let you know when I review it on my blog. I'm reading history, philosophy and cultural studies ATM.

Karla said...

Okay. I am keeping all of this in mind and searching it all out.