Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Benefits of Divine Revelation

I was recently asked, what has religion offered to humanity’s knowledge about the world? In clarifying, this question was unpacked to ask how has divine revelation aided our knowledge about the world?


First I must explain that I don’t divide knowledge out to be the result of unaided man versus what is the result of divine revelation for I see the two are inseparable. All knowledge that lines up with truth is attained because God has given us the ability to attain it through a variety of means whether they are received through the scientific process or received through direct revelation. I would say that all true knowledge is either gained indirectly or directly from God.


To illustrate, consider that as a Christian I see God as being the Author, Creator, and Sustainer of life. Thus all truth is God’s truth for He is its author and its source. He wants us to learn the truth about the world because the way of truth is the way of life.


Now to be fair, I am not trying to skirt the question. I can still talk about direct divine revelation as long as it is understood that I don’t see the indirect as being somehow secular or merely human oriented.


As a Christian I see direct revelation from God coming in two mediums; the written word of God known as the Scriptures or the Bible or through God speaking to individuals consistent with the Scriptures. Thus, the individual doesn’t have license to run with something as being God that is in contradiction to the truth of Scriptures. Now the first is an unchanging objective standard of revelation and the second is a subjective relational receiving of God’s revelation, often referred to in many Christian circles and in Scripture as the prophetic.


Therefore to answer this question from the point of view of a Christian I am examining the contributions to human knowledge from the Bible and the contributions from prophetic experiences. Prophetic experiences come through a myriad of ways such as dreams, visions, impressions, feelings, hearing internally that “still small voice,” seeing internally or externally and sometimes angelic visitation or visitation from the Lord Himself.


The Scriptures have provided a wealth of information for many things in this world. John Locke, who supplied much of the foundational philosophy to form the American republic, quoted extensively from the Scriptures in developing his model for government.


William Wilberforce who was instrumental in ending the slave trade in England did so from his moral imperative from Scripture than man ought not to be treated thus as we are called to love one another.


Recently, in the last decade or so, Uganda’s President asked the faith community for their help in curbing the rampant aids epidemic that was infecting around 30-35% of the population. The church leaders explained to President Yoweri Museveni that he needed to campaign a three step program called ABC in response to the aids epidemic. The steps are as follows: Abstain until marriage, Be faithful to one partner, and lastly with the other two being met, Condom use to curb transmission of those already infected. Museveni opened up the media channels to campaign this message to his people. The infection rate dropped from 35% to around 5%. The United Nations took notice and asked Museveni how he accomplished this phenomenal shift in aids in his country. He explained the process to them, they didn’t like the abstinence part so they reversed the ABC’s and began to promote condom use as the first thrust of the campaign in other African countries and the results did not par with Uganda’s results. The President is still working with the United Nations to help them see the value of doing it this way. It is the principals of the Bible that the church leaders in Uganda gave to the President that had an amazing impact on their culture.



John Maxwell is a proliferate author in the business world writing to business executives about leadership principals to aid the growth and health of their companies. His books are found in the business section of major book stores, however, he is a Christian, and his principals of leadership are all Biblically based. His books are also on the shelves of Christian bookstores.


These are just a few of the many examples of how Biblical revelation is aiding the world and not just the church and the private lives of individuals. I am going to pause at this point and not continue on to discuss the subjective revelation through prophetic means because if the former is not received the latter certainly will not be for it is much more subjective in nature. Now, of course, if you don’t accept the Bible as revelation then my examples will not aid your understanding of the aid of direct revelation to the world. At least, maybe, it will give food for thought of the value of the Bible.


66 comments:

Anonymous said...

"All knowledge that lines up with truth is attained because God has given us the ability to attain it through a variety of means whether they are received through the scientific process or received through direct revelation."

Yet, direct revelation doesn't aid us in any way. Either way, you know that this is not an acceptable answer, so I won't tarry.

"John Locke, who supplied much of the foundational philosophy to form the American republic, quoted extensively from the Scriptures in developing his model for government."

But, how did he develop his model? He did it by using reason and observation. He studied previous models and their affects. The Bible did not show him the way, it was his studies that did so.

"William Wilberforce who was instrumental in ending the slave trade in England did so from his moral imperative from Scripture than man ought not to be treated thus as we are called to love one another."

He used the Bible to prop up what he had already come to, just as all the Bible believing slavery proponents did. The Bible, actually doesn't condemn slavery. Good try though. I always like it when Wilberforce is held up as if he was the Xian model of the time, as if no other Xians defended slavery (they did in larger numbers) and slavery was thrust upon Xians until Wilberforce had the temerity to stand up and tell everyone what all Xians already secretly knew but were too afraid to say...or some other such nonsense. I suggest you check out Susan Jacoby's book "Freethinkers" and see how it was mostly those outside of Xianity that were pushing for freedom for slaves and women.

"The church leaders explained to President Yoweri Museveni that he needed to campaign a three step program called ABC in response to the aids epidemic."

How does this even come close to approaching the challenge?

"His books are found in the business section of major book stores, however, he is a Christian, and his principals of leadership are all Biblically based. His books are also on the shelves of Christian bookstores."

That's what he says perhaps, but he didn't gain his knowledge from religion or from revelation. Do you honestly think that one day god simply put these ideas into his head and he wrote them down? How would he have known they were right? Does he know they are right? Do you know they are right? Are you claiming that his ideas are factual knowledge?

I really don't think you understand the challenge. Like I said, a Xian doing something doesn't meet the challenge. It's how the knowledge was obtained. In all cases, the knowledge is not obtained magically from god. Even if it is, that "knowledge" is not actual knowledge so much as it is a guess. In the case of a leadership book, how would the author know that his tactics would work? We would have to go out and try them and do the experiments before we could say that we have the knowledge that has increased understanding of the world. IOW, we still have to go out and do the hard work before we can declare that we've learned something. Our learning didn't come from the wild guesses of the person, but from the scientific work.

Karla said...

We can't get away from the tools we use to receive knowledge no matter the source of that knowledge. Those tools are as God given as the knowledge it self. Of course we are going to be using reason and logic in the application of any knowledge. Introducing God as a source of knowledge doesn't negate the use of the same tools. It would seem you think reason and logic to somehow be separate from God.

When God dropped manna from the sky it was till human hands that received what was deployed supernaturally. It was human digestion that worked to obtain the sustenance of the food. That doesn't negate its supernatural source. Those human hands and that human digestion was also created by God. (I know you don't think God ever did that) but let's just use it as an illustration.

Anonymous said...

"Those tools are as God given as the knowledge it self."

You have no evidence for that.

"It would seem you think reason and logic to somehow be separate from God."

Reason and logic are tools that we use that we developed through observation and testing of the world.

"When God dropped manna from the sky it was till human hands that received what was deployed supernaturally."

There is no evidence that the exodus ever happened, and what we do know speaks against that story having taken place.

"It was human digestion that worked to obtain the sustenance of the food. That doesn't negate its supernatural source."

It's the lack of positive evidence for and the great deal of evidence against that negates that anything supernatural occurred.

"Those human hands and that human digestion was also created by God. (I know you don't think God ever did that) but let's just use it as an illustration."

IOW, let's use a fictional account to try and answer a challenge about non-fictional history. That's like saying that ID must be true because the Monolith in 2001.

Karla said...

"Reason and logic are tools that we use that we developed through observation and testing of the world."

How do you prove that assumption?

I see you were unable to accept the story from Exodus as an illustration.

Anonymous said...

"I see you were unable to accept the story from Exodus as an illustration."

I generally don't accept fiction as an argument, no. Please stick to real world examples instead of relying on pretty well discarded myths.

"How do you prove that assumption?"

How do you prove that god is somehow involved, and how does that make sense?

There is evidence that this is the case. Look at the witch trials of a couple hundred years ago that used dubious methods of extracting truth (mostly based on their reading of the Bible). We know now that those methods were not reasonable, rational, etc. Take a guess how we learned that.

Karla said...

Are you referring to the Salem Witch trials?

Anonymous said...

Among others.

cl said...

Karla,You are letting Anon drag you into an rhetorical exercise. This whole discussion is a farce, and I'm not being sarcastic or insulting. Let's really think this through, logically, but first a quibble:

"All knowledge that lines up with truth is attained because God has given us the ability to attain it through a variety of means whether they are received through the scientific process or received through direct revelation."The problem is that no atheist or skeptic in their right mind can accept this statement. I realize you take God for granted, and I understand the distinction you're trying to make between "direct revelation" and "indirect acquisition" of knowledge. I realize you feel both come from God. While believers will have no problem with that, your argument here is entirely circular and will not impress skeptics.

Now for the "farce" part of my comment. Atheists and unbelieving skeptics already disbelieve in religion's main object - which is God - so what is the usefulness of offering purported examples of advances in knowledge revealed by a being the atheist and unbelieving skeptic already disbelieves in? This seems good for little more than argument, and not the type of argument that's likely to resolve logically. The atheist or non-believing skeptic can simply take all examples offered, denounce that religion was their source, and simply re-attribute them to something else. I hate to say it, but every one of your examples can be dismissed thusly, as Anon has predictably demonstrated.

Alas, Anon has still not answered my question of how we might prove that an advance in knowledge resulted from prayer or revelation. For example, let's say Lister gave God credit for illuminating the usefulness of carbolic acid in the science of antiseptics. How on Earth can that statement be falsified? Let's say Whewell gave God credit for any of his interesting studies on ocean tides. Why would any atheist or unbelieving skeptic believe such was procured via revelation? These are the very same people that consistently and vehemently deny that you can attribute an unexplained healing to God. So why should they accept the attribution of an advance in knowledge to God?

I have no idea why Anon, who supposedly espouses science with utmost regard, would ask you to prove an unfalsifiable statement, then claim that your inability to do so indicates a weakness in your position. In reality, the same set of epistemological impossibilities accompanies Anon's demand as with demands to prove that God works miracles; the demand itself is inherently unscientific.

Since Anon's question is an rhetorical strategy that disrespects the scientific method, I wonder whether or not Anon "really understands the challenge." If Anon feels he does understand the challenge, then hopefully he can answer how we might prove that an advance in knowledge resulted from prayer or revelation.

Ali P said...

You are talking complete and utter drivel with this one.

Karla said...

cl, I realize I was discussing the benefits of divine revelation to one who doesn't believe anything to be divine revelation. But at the same time, I didn't feel I could ignore his question. I try to go at every question as best I can even if the answer will not be received. I like to think it out for myself as well, and I must say, it's a question I had never been asked.

The thing is I cannot separate out what human tool of learning can be attributed to humans alone, because humanity can't even be attributed to humans alone, for we did not create ourselves. So either we are the products of random evolutionary chain of events or we are the design of a Creator who endowed us with the ability to understand the world around us through reason and logic applied to our observation through our senses.

I think the problem with most of these conversations is that we isolate aspects of the package and try and defend them without the whole interlocking picture. It's like trying to defend/prove a piece of a puzzle without reference to the picture on the box.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: So either we are the products of random evolutionary chain of events or we are the design of a Creator....etc...

Evolution by Natural Selection is *not* random. Although the underlying resource Evolution works upon is random in some ways - mutations for example - the process of Evolution is anything but random. The environment 'selects' creatures (or actually their genes) on their adaptability to that environment. This is *not* a random process.

Anonymous said...

"The thing is I cannot separate out what human tool of learning can be attributed to humans alone, because humanity can't even be attributed to humans alone, for we did not create ourselves."

Until you can provide evidence for your god, you can not assert that god is responsible.

"So either we are the products of random evolutionary chain of events or we are the design of a Creator who endowed us with the ability to understand the world around us through reason and logic applied to our observation through our senses."

What ck said. Plus, this is a false dichotomy.

"I think the problem with most of these conversations is that we isolate aspects of the package and try and defend them without the whole interlocking picture. It's like trying to defend/prove a piece of a puzzle without reference to the picture on the box."

I think a bigger problem is statements that are taken for granted and can not be defended, like, "Religion is one way of knowing about the world." Without being able to give examples of what we know about the world through religion, this simply is not a true statement.

Karla said...

Cyber "Evolution by Natural Selection is *not* random. Although the underlying resource Evolution works upon is random in some ways - mutations for example - the process of Evolution is anything but random."

Does not evolution speak of chance not intent?

Cyber: The environment 'selects' creatures (or actually their genes) on their adaptability to that environment. This is *not* a random process."

That makes it sound like the environment is a living being selecting things for the benefit of life. It's ironic how impossible it is to even speak of nature forming without use of a sentience which gives and sustains life.

Karla said...

Anon, you separate out religious knowledge, I don't think that way. I may have spoken that way in a past conversation in response to your doing so, but I was in error if I did.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Does not evolution speak of chance not intent?

Evolution is incaple of intent because it is a process not a conscious being of any kind. Chance does play a part but randomness has been seriously overplayed by some critics of the Theory.

karla said: That makes it sound like the environment is a living being selecting things for the benefit of life.

That's why I used 'select' rather than simply select. Think of it this way. If a creature gives birth to 10 offspring, 8 of which have colouring which blends into the foliage, 1 who has better than average camoflage and 1 who is brilliant white (in an environment predominated by shades of green and brown) which do you think will pretty quickly get picked off by predators? A clue is that it's unlikely to be the ones who are camoflagued. This is how the environment 'selects' genes.

cl said...

Karla,

I wasn't trying to haggle you, if that's the impression you got I apologize. I admire your tenacity.

On the other hand, I hate to see false victories. That the believer cannot satisfactorily answer this question is not an indication of weakness in the believer's position. That the atheist or skeptic asks the question indicates a weakness in their understanding of the scientific method. That an advance in knowledge resulted from revelation or prayer is outside our epistemological purview. Please, maybe you could ask Anon how we might prove (or provide reliable evidence) that an advance in knowledge resulted from prayer or revelation.

Anonymous said...

Karla,
How can you possibly criticize evolution when you so clearly don't understand it?

"Anon, you separate out religious knowledge, I don't think that way."

OK. So, I design an experiment, do the test, gather the results, publish the results, a new theory is formed...which religion helped me? Which religion gets to take credit for my work? How would we have gained this knowledge through religion if not for the scientific work that I put in?

Karla said...

Cl, I didn't think that, I was just conversing with you about it. I realize the insurmountable task more now, because we don't divide knowledge in this manner.

Anon, science is not separate from God given knowledge, He gave us the minds that do the science by the principals of truth that are real and thus come from Him. Without your acceptance of His existence, or direct or indirect divine revelation this conversation is pointless as CL has pointed out.

Karla said...

I see, Cyber, but I still notice in most conversations about evolution or nature it begins to look like we are talking about a live being instead of a process. It makes me wonder because it seems we have to go out of our way to avoid reference to personifications.

Anonymous said...

"Anon, science is not separate from God given knowledge, He gave us the minds that do the science by the principals of truth that are real and thus come from Him. Without your acceptance of His existence, or direct or indirect divine revelation this conversation is pointless as CL has pointed out."

It's pointless because theists can not back up their statements that religion teaches us things. Even if I grant you that god gave us our reasoning minds, we still learn through the process of scientific study, not through prayer. Dodging the question by claiming it is unfair is not going to help.

"I see, Cyber, but I still notice in most conversations about evolution or nature it begins to look like we are talking about a live being instead of a process. It makes me wonder because it seems we have to go out of our way to avoid reference to personifications."

And, because we talk about Old Man Winter, I guess that means that the weather is directed?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I see, Cyber, but I still notice in most conversations about evolution or nature it begins to look like we are talking about a live being instead of a process.

Maybe so.... but it's still a non-directed process. Run it again from the start and its highly likey you'd end up with a very different set of creatures.

cl said...

Karla,

"Without your acceptance of His existence, or direct or indirect divine revelation this conversation is pointless as CL has pointed out."

Well yes and no, as that's not exactly what I said. It's true that Anon already disbelieves in the source of any alleged revelation you could possibly offer, so in that sense - yes - this conversation is pointless. However, Anon choosing to explain how you might prove (or even provide reliable evidence) that an advance in knowledge resulted from prayer or revelation might not be pointless. As it is, he challenges you, then refuses to explain how you might reasonably meet his challenge. I hear his comments here, I hear him on his own blog echoing the same exact arguments, and I hear him sneering at you and Pine for allegedly being unable to meet his challenge - but I don't hear him answering the only question that could possibly allow his challenge to be met.

MS Quixote said...

"It's pointless because theists can not back up their statements that religion teaches us things."

P1 If all known religions are false, then no known religions produce knowledge.

P2 All known religions are false.

C: by modus ponens--Therefore, no known religions produce knowledge.

It should be obvious, my friend, that while your argument is formally valid, it's unsound.

Karla said...

Cl, I didn't know Anon had his own blog.

Quixote,

Thanks. Good to have you drop in.

MS Quixote said...

Hey Karla,

I really enjoy reading this blog. What a diverse group you have here. I'm here consistently; I just don't always comment.

cl said...

Quixote,Worse than that, theists can and do back up their claims that religion teaches us things. I just asked someone today who explained in great detail that reading the Bible directly taught them how to better handle angry people, among other things. Of course, per stated reasoning P1-C, at this point I would fully expect Anon to:

1) Deny that "reading the Bible" counts as "religion"; or,

2) Claim the example offered doesn't show how religion taught us anything "about the real world" or something similar, when in fact angry people are part of the real world; or,

3) Some other attempted defense fully in line with P1-C.

Karla,Ask him about it. It's been mentioned here before. He's made it clear I'm not welcomed, though I welcome both his reasoned criticisms and ad hominem vitriol on my blog. He's a good writer most of the time and it's all entertaining.

Thanks for stopping by the other day, BTW. It's always good to switch it up once in awhile.

Anonymous said...

Quixote,
Why do you not simply answer the challenge? If religion is a way of knowing about the world, what do we know from it?

I see a whole lot of evasion, but no actual answering.

MS Quixote said...

"Why do you not simply answer the challenge?"

What else do I need to do other than demonstrate your argument is unsound? I can provide a truckload of positive argumentation, but I did it this way because you're so fond of hiding behind the burden of proof shield. In this instance, I get to :)

Your argument fails, as demonstrated; therefore, I've got no reason or evidence to believe your claim that religion produces no knowledge. if you can own up to that, I'll produce the positive examples.

Anonymous said...

"What else do I need to do other than demonstrate your argument is unsound?"

I fail to see how you did that. You simply asserted that it is unsound. In fact, you claimed it was obviously unsound. If that is the case, then it should be trivial to answer the challenge with an example. If religion is a way of knowing things, what do we know from religion?

"I can provide a truckload of positive argumentation, but I did it this way because you're so fond of hiding behind the burden of proof shield."

I didn't realize that by asking a question, I assume some sort of burden of proof. When I say, "Please show me an example that shows X," how do I take on any burden of proof? How is it hiding to not see anything that I have to prove? Further, the positive assertion is that religion is a way of knowing about the world. How in the world is it MY burden to have to prove that is incorrect? The positive assertion lies with the theist, therefore the theist has to demonstrate what it is that religion tells us about the world, or what we know from religion. I can't believe that you are even suggesting that there's anything unseemly in my expecting a theist to back up the statement!

"Your argument fails, as demonstrated..."

Um, I must have missed the demonstration, because NO ONE has yet given anything that we have learned from religion, or anything we know from religion. Nothing at all.

"I've got no reason or evidence to believe your claim that religion produces no knowledge. if you can own up to that, I'll produce the positive examples."

What in the world are you talking about? So, you have positive examples, but you won't tell me them. You, instead, assert that my argument has been defeated, even though you refuse to give the positive examples that are needed to defeat the argument. On top of that, you are making the claim that it is up to me to prove that the statement that religion is a way of knowing about the world is false? C'mon. I expect better from you.

Anonymous said...

BTW Quixote, your assessment of my "argument" is not what I've said or am saying.

cl said...

Anon,"Um, I must have missed the demonstration, because NO ONE has yet given anything that we have learned from religion, or anything we know from religion. Nothing at all."

That Quixote successfully demonstrated your argument was unsound has nothing to do with whether or not anyone has answered your question.

"You, instead, assert that my argument has been defeated, even though you refuse to give the positive examples that are needed to defeat the argument."

That's the part you're not getting. Nobody needs to provide the positive examples, because you haven't quantified how we might prove that any example offered came from religion, divine revelation or prayer. Do you really want to play a big game of, "Nuh-uh, that didn't come from religion," followed by, "yes it did?" I don't.

Why are you so willing to offer an unfalsifiable three-tiered negative as a truth-claim? Let's slow down a bit and take a cold, hard look at this. You ask for examples of things we've learned about the world from: 1) religion; 2) revelation; 3) prayer.

1) I used to work with a Chaplain who had no shortage of stories detailing the many positive things religion taught inmates over the weekend. My own mother has shared in great detail how reading the Bible taught her how to better handle angry people. Another person remarked that reading scriptures from Buddhism taught her how to be a better, more ethical human being.

We could go on, but there's really no use, as answers like these typically fail to convince the atheist or unbelieving skeptic, who will often simply deny that religion was ever the source of the learning offered. At this point, it can become a game of semantics. To me, reading and studying the Bible counts as religion, as does meditating on Buddhist scriptures.

Of course, I fully expect that you won't accept any of that.

2 & 3) If Lister gave divine revelation the credit for his ideas on the use of carbolic acid in the scientific practice of antiseptics, how on Earth can that claim possibly be falsified? If Whewell gave prayer the credit for any of his interesting studies on ocean tides, how can that ever amount to anything beyond a just-so story? How might Karla, Quixote, myself or anyone else prove that an advance in knowledge resulted from revelation or prayer? Since the closest we can possibly hope to get would be a concession that a certain advance in knowledge is unexplainable, you propose an unfalsifiable challenge.

The revelation and prayer parts of your challenge CANNOT be met until you demonstrate how we might prove that an advance resulted from revelation or prayer. The burden of proof cannot be met, and I think that's what Quixote was getting at when he said you, "hide behind the burden of proof."

I agree, and I answered your question squarely. Your argument is unsound, but you could change our minds if you would just provide what we ask for, which, AGAIN, is - How we might prove that an advance resulted from revelation or prayer?

Karla said...

Anon you posit there is no divine revelation so it is impossible to answer your question without you accepting the reality of divine revelation for any answer we give you will simply respond that the source was not divine. So until we are agreed that there is a God who is there and is not silent then we have nothing to offer you in response to your question. I did attempt it regardless so that you would see I'm not ignoring you, but you did as I suspected and simply said my examples were not from divine revelation.

Karla said...

Cl, you are welcome here. I've never seen you do anything to jeopardize that.

I try to jump over to everyone else's blogs when I get time, sometimes I am so involved here it's all I can do to keep up with this blog. But I also visit without commenting. I do find it intriguing.

Anonymous, do you have a blog that I'm welcome at to view?

MS Quixote said...

"In fact, you claimed it was obviously unsound."

It's obviously unsound. If any known religion is true, it produces knowledge. You can't demonstrate that all known religions are false. Thus, premiss two is unsupportable.

Moreover, premiss one is suspect in my mind. I'm not convinced a false religion cannot produce knowledge.

As to the burden of proof, did you not make the positive claim that religion does not produce knowledge? If not, I apologize, and we have nothing to argue about. If so, then you bear the burden of proof.

But, in any case, the argument is so weak that I don't need to offer any examples to demonstrate it's unsoundness. I've already done it. But, as I said, I'll be happy to provide examples if we can agree up to this point.

Or, here's another option: if I've mischaracterized your argument, provide me with what it is you're actually arguing, formally, so that I can analyze it.

I'm confident I've desrcibed it correctly in the formal syllogism I provided simply for the fact that if any known religion is true, you should readily agree that it produces knowledge. Thus, they all must be false for your claim to have any chance to be true.

And, BTW, logic and reason is a perfectly acceptable means of refuting an argument, without examples. In fact, it's the preferred method, when possible, because it's formal without the definitional baggage and quibbling over whether an example really means what it means, or what actually counts as evidence, or on and on...

Steven said...

Karla you may not remember me but you commented on my Blog last year and I never got around to replying to you. I have a lot of your posts and am truly amazed at how you can take a book that is acually many books in one and believe what has been written almost 2000 years ago by mere old men that, if you really take a look at HISTORY they wanted control over there people and religion was the best way to accomplish this. It was FEAR that they instilled in the minds of people to gain this control. You don't have to believe me and I am not going to say that you are going to hell for not believing what is just plain fact. Scientifically proven fact on our history. The BIBLE or as you would put it “word of God” has absolutely no factual proof that any of the stories ever happened. None. I do not blame you or condemn you for what you believe because it is very easy to get sucked up in the vacuum of religion if your family believe and their families believe and so on. I too was a believer because of my parents. However, I will say that religion is a prison and all the people that believe this nonsense are the prisoners. If you want to honestly look at and talk about historical fact then you would benefit from reading “The Christ Conspiracy. The Greatest Story Ever Sold”. The story of Jesus is a plagiarized idea to gain control of people. Here are some real facts on the worlds history from my blog.

The Bibles authenticity is at best very disturbing to me. The bible has been changed, edited and messed with since it was written which was somewhere between 2 and 4 hundred years after everything had supposedly happened. The only history we have of this man called Jesus is the Bible. We have plenty of historical documents written by the famous historians in this era but nothing from them about this mans life, miracles, or popularity like the Bible so beautifully tells. Heaven and Hell are nothing but a state of mind. They are not places you go. Hell and Satan were created by the men of the bible so they could control the people politically. If you were not good and obey the rules then you were doomed. It is impossible for God to condemn because God is a creator not a destroyer. We are creators also. I create my world around me just like everyone else on this planet.

Here are some facts about Christianity: (JUST THE FACTS)

"WONDERFUL EVENTS THAT TESTIFY TO GOD'S DIVINE GLORY"
Listed are only events that solely occurred on command of church authorities or were committed in the name of Christianity. (List incomplete)

Ancient Pagans
As soon as Christianity was legal (315), more and more pagan temples were destroyed by Christian mob. Pagan priests were killed.
Between 315 and 6th century thousands of pagan believers were slain.
Examples of destroyed Temples: the Sanctuary of Aesculap in Aegaea, the Temple of Aphrodite in Golgatha, Aphaka in Lebanon, the Heliopolis.
Christian priests such as Mark of Arethusa or Cyrill of Heliopolis were famous as "temple destroyer." [DA468]
Pagan services became punishable by death in 356. [DA468]
Christian Emperor Theodosius (408-450) even had children executed, because they had been playing with remains of pagan statues. [DA469]
According to Christian chroniclers he "followed meticulously all Christian teachings..."
In 6th century pagans were declared void of all rights.
In the early fourth century the philosopher Sopatros was executed on demand of Christian authorities. [DA466]
The world famous female philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria was torn to pieces with glass fragments by a hysterical Christian mob led by a Christian minister named Peter, in a church, in 415.
[DO19-25]
Mission
Emperor Karl (Charlemagne) in 782 had 4500 Saxons, unwilling to convert to Christianity, beheaded. [DO30]
Peasants of Steding (Germany) unwilling to pay suffocating church taxes: between 5,000 and 11,000 men, women and children slain 5/27/1234 near Altenesch/Germany. [WW223]
Battle of Belgrad 1456: 80,000 Turks slaughtered. [DO235]
15th century Poland: 1019 churches and 17987 villages plundered by Knights of the Order. Victims unknown. [DO30]
16th and 17th century Ireland. English troops "pacified and civilized" Ireland, where only Gaelic "wild Irish", "unreasonable beasts lived without any knowledge of God or good manners, in common of their goods, cattle, women, children and every other thing." One of the more successful soldiers, a certain Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, ordered that "the heddes of all those (of what sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte off from their bodies... and should bee laied on the ground by eche side of the waie", which effort to civilize the Irish indeed caused "greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and freinds on the grounde".
Tens of thousands of Gaelic Irish fell victim to the carnage. [SH99, 225]


Crusades (1095-1291)
First Crusade: 1095 on command of pope Urban II. [WW11-41]
Semlin/Hungary 6/24/96 thousands slain. Wieselburg/Hungary 6/12/96 thousands. [WW23]
9/9/96-9/26/96 Nikaia, Xerigordon (then turkish), thousands respectively. [WW25-27]
Until Jan 1098 a total of 40 capital cities and 200 castles conquered (number of slain unknown) [WW30]
after 6/3/98 Antiochia (then turkish) conquered, between 10,000 and 60,000 slain. 6/28/98 100,000 Turks (incl. women & children) killed. [WW32-35]
Here the Christians "did no other harm to the women found in [the enemy's] tents - save that they ran their lances through their bellies," according to Christian chronicler Fulcher of Chartres. [EC60]
Marra (Maraat an-numan) 12/11/98 thousands killed. Because of the subsequent famine "the already stinking corpses of the enemies were eaten by the Christians" said chronicler Albert Aquensis. [WW36]
Jerusalem conquered 7/15/1099 more than 60,000 victims (jewish, muslim, men, women, children). [WW37-40]
(In the words of one witness: "there [in front of Solomon's temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes", and after that "happily and crying for joy our people marched to our Saviour's tomb, to honour it and to pay off our debt of gratitude")
The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote: "It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished." [TG79]
Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that "even the following summer in all of palestine the air was polluted by the stench of decomposition". One million victims of the first crusade alone. [WW41]
Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. 200,000 heathens slaughtered "in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ". [WW45]
Fourth crusade: 4/12/1204 Constantinople sacked, number of victims unknown, numerous thousands, many of them Christian. [WW141-148]
Rest of Crusades in less detail: until the fall of Akkon 1291 probably 20 million victims (in the Holy land and Arab/Turkish areas alone). [WW224]
Note: All figures according to contemporary (Christian) chroniclers.



Heretics
Already in 385 C.E. the first Christians, the Spanish Priscillianus and six followers, were beheaded for heresy in Trier/Germany [DO26]
Manichaean heresy: a crypto-Christian sect decent enough to practice birth control (and thus not as irresponsible as faithful Catholics) was exterminated in huge campaigns all over the Roman empire between 372 C.E. and 444 C.E. Numerous thousands of victims. [NC]
Albigensians: the first Crusade intended to slay other Christians. [DO29]
The Albigensians (cathars = Christians allegedly that have all rarely sucked) viewed themselves as good Christians, but would not accept roman Catholic rule, and taxes, and prohibition of birth control. [NC]
Begin of violence: on command of pope Innocent III (greatest single pre-nazi mass murderer) in 1209. Bezirs (today France) 7/22/1209 destroyed, all the inhabitants were slaughtered. Victims (including Catholics refusing to turn over their heretic neighbours and friends) 20,000-70,000. [WW179-181]
Carcassonne 8/15/1209, thousands slain. Other cities followed. [WW181]
subsequent 20 years of war until nearly all Cathars (probably half the population of the Languedoc, today southern France) were exterminated. [WW183]
After the war ended (1229) the Inquisition was founded 1232 to search and destroy surviving/hiding heretics. Last Cathars burned at the stake 1324. [WW183]
Estimated one million victims (cathar heresy alone), [WW183]
Other heresies: Waldensians, Paulikians, Runcarians, Josephites, and many others. Most of these sects exterminated, (I believe some Waldensians live today, yet they had to endure 600 years of persecution) I estimate at least hundred thousand victims (including the Spanish inquisition but excluding victims in the New World).
Spanish Inquisitor Torquemada alone allegedly responsible for 10,220 burnings. [DO28]
John Huss, a critic of papal infallibility and indulgences, was burned at the stake in 1415. [LI475-522]
University professor B.Hubmaier burned at the stake 1538 in Vienna. [DO59]
Giordano Bruno, Dominican monk, after having been incarcerated for seven years, was burned at the stake for heresy on the Campo dei Fiori (Rome) on 2/17/1600.


Witches
from the beginning of Christianity to 1484 probably more than several thousand.
in the era of witch hunting (1484-1750) according to modern scholars several hundred thousand (about 80% female) burned at the stake or hanged. [WV]
incomplete list of documented cases:


Religious Wars
15th century: Crusades against Hussites, thousands slain. [DO30]
1538 pope Paul III declared Crusade against apostate England and all English as slaves of Church (fortunately had not power to go into action). [DO31]
1568 Spanish Inquisition Tribunal ordered extermination of 3 million rebels in (then Spanish) Netherlands. Thousands were actually slain. [DO31]
1572 In France about 20,000 Huguenots were killed on command of pope Pius V. Until 17th century 200,000 flee. [DO31]
17th century: Catholics slay Gaspard de Coligny, a Protestant leader. After murdering him, the Catholic mob mutilated his body, "cutting off his head, his hands, and his genitals... and then dumped him into the river [...but] then, deciding that it was not worthy of being food for the fish, they hauled it out again [... and] dragged what was left ... to the gallows of Montfaulcon, 'to be meat and carrion for maggots and crows'." [SH191]
17th century: Catholics sack the city of Magdeburg/Germany: roughly 30,000 Protestants were slain. "In a single church fifty women were found beheaded," reported poet Friedrich Schiller, "and infants still sucking the breasts of their lifeless mothers." [SH191]
17th century 30 years' war (Catholic vs. Protestant): at least 40% of population decimated, mostly in Germany. [DO31-32]


Jews
Already in the 4th and 5th centuries synagogues were burned by Christians. Number of Jews slain unknown.
In the middle of the fourth century the first synagogue was destroyed on command of bishop Innocentius of Dertona in Northern Italy. The first synagogue known to have been burned down was near the river Euphrat, on command of the bishop of Kallinikon in the year 388. [DA450]
17. Council of Toledo 694: Jews were enslaved, their property confiscated, and their children forcibly baptized. [DA454]
The Bishop of Limoges (France) in 1010 had the cities' Jews, who would not convert to Christianity, expelled or killed. [DA453]
First Crusade: Thousands of Jews slaughtered 1096, maybe 12.000 total. Places: Worms 5/18/1096, Mainz 5/27/1096 (1100 persons), Cologne, Neuss, Altenahr, Wevelinghoven, Xanten, Moers, Dortmund, Kerpen, Trier, Metz, Regensburg, Prag and others (All locations Germany except Metz/France, Prag/Czech) [EJ]
Second Crusade: 1147. Several hundred Jews were slain in Ham, Sully, Carentan, and Rameru (all locations in France). [WW57]
Third Crusade: English Jewish communities sacked 1189/90. [DO40]
Fulda/Germany 1235: 34 Jewish men and women slain. [DO41]
1257, 1267: Jewish communities of London, Canterbury, Northampton, Lincoln, Cambridge, and others exterminated. [DO41]
1290 in Bohemian (Poland) allegedly 10,000 Jews killed. [DO41]
1337 Starting in Deggendorf/Germany a Jew-killing craze reaches 51 towns in Bavaria, Austria, Poland. [DO41]
1348 All Jews of Basel/Switzerland and Strasbourg/France (two thousand) burned. [DO41]
1349 In more than 350 towns in Germany all Jews murdered, mostly burned alive (in this one year more Jews were killed than Christians in 200 years of ancient Roman persecution of Christians). [DO42]
1389 In Prag 3,000 Jews were slaughtered. [DO42]
1391 Seville's Jews killed (Archbishop Martinez leading). 4,000 were slain, 25,000 sold as slaves. [DA454] Their identification was made easy by the brightly colored "badges of shame" that all jews above the age of ten had been forced to wear.
1492: In the year Columbus set sail to conquer a New World, more than 150,000 Jews were expelled from Spain, many died on their way: 6/30/1492. [MM470-476]
1648 Chmielnitzki massacres: In Poland about 200,000 Jews were slain. [DO43]
(I feel sick ...) this goes on and on, century after century, right into the kilns of Auschwitz.



Native Peoples
Beginning with Columbus (a former slave trader and would-be Holy Crusader) the conquest of the New World began, as usual understood as a means to propagate Christianity.
Within hours of landfall on the first inhabited island he encountered in the Caribbean, Columbus seized and carried off six native people who, he said, "ought to be good servants ... [and] would easily be made Christians, because it seemed to me that they belonged to no religion." [SH200]
While Columbus described the Indians as "idolators" and "slaves, as many as [the Crown] shall order," his pal Michele de Cuneo, Italian nobleman, referred to the natives as "beasts" because "they eat when they are hungry," and made love "openly whenever they feel like it." [SH204-205]
On every island he set foot on, Columbus planted a cross, "making the declarations that are required" - the requerimiento - to claim the ownership for his Catholic patrons in Spain. And "nobody objected." If the Indians refused or delayed their acceptance (or understanding), the requerimiento continued:
I certify to you that, with the help of God, we shall powerfully enter in your country and shall make war against you ... and shall subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church ... and shall do you all mischief that we can, as to vassals who do not obey and refuse to receive their lord and resist and contradict him." [SH66]
Likewise in the words of John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony: "justifieinge the undertakeres of the intended Plantation in New England ... to carry the Gospell into those parts of the world, ... and to raise a Bulworke against the kingdome of the Ante-Christ." [SH235]
In average two thirds of the native population were killed by colonist-imported smallpox before violence began. This was a great sign of "the marvelous goodness and providence of God" to the Christians of course, e.g. the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony wrote in 1634, as "for the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so as the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess." [SH109,238]
On Hispaniola alone, on Columbus visits, the native population (Arawak), a rather harmless and happy people living on an island of abundant natural resources, a literal paradise, soon mourned 50,000 dead. [SH204]
The surviving Indians fell victim to rape, murder, enslavement and spanish raids.
As one of the culprits wrote: "So many Indians died that they could not be counted, all through the land the Indians lay dead everywhere. The stench was very great and pestiferous." [SH69]
The indian chief Hatuey fled with his people but was captured and burned alive. As "they were tying him to the stake a Franciscan friar urged him to take Jesus to his heart so that his soul might go to heaven, rather than descend into hell. Hatuey replied that if heaven was where the Christians went, he would rather go to hell." [SH70]
What happened to his people was described by an eyewitness:
"The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties ... They built a long gibbet, long enough for the toes to touch the ground to prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles... then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive." [SH72]
Or, on another occasion:
"The Spaniards cut off the arm of one, the leg or hip of another, and from some their heads at one stroke, like butchers cutting up beef and mutton for market. Six hundred, including the cacique, were thus slain like brute beasts...Vasco [de Balboa] ordered forty of them to be torn to pieces by dogs." [SH83]
The "island's population of about eight million people at the time of Columbus's arrival in 1492 already had declined by a third to a half before the year 1496 was out." Eventually all the island's natives were exterminated, so the Spaniards were "forced" to import slaves from other Caribbean islands, who soon suffered the same fate. Thus "the Caribbean's millions of native people [were] thereby effectively liquidated in barely a quarter of a century". [SH72-73] "In less than the normal lifetime of a single human being, an entire culture of millions of people, thousands of years resident in their homeland, had been exterminated." [SH75]
"And then the Spanish turned their attention to the mainland of Mexico and Central America. The slaughter had barely begun. The exquisite city of Tenochtitln [Mexico city] was next." [SH75]
Cortez, Pizarro, De Soto and hundreds of other spanish conquistadors likewise sacked southern and mesoamerican civilizations in the name of Christ (De Soto also sacked Florida).
"When the 16th century ended, some 200,000 Spaniards had moved to the Americas. By that time probably more than 60,000,000 natives were dead." [SH95]
Well there is much more but I don’t want to take up all the space on your blog and I think you get the picture now. I’ll post more on my blog soon.

Anonymous said...

"Anon you posit there is no divine revelation so it is impossible to answer your question without you accepting the reality of divine revelation for any answer we give you will simply respond that the source was not divine."

Then present evidence for both, or present me with something that can only be explained as having come from religion. As it is, though, you can not make the claim that religion is a way of knowing about the world if you can't present examples of things we know from religion. This is doubly so if it requires one to accept a tenuous assumption and beg the question.

"So until we are agreed that there is a God who is there and is not silent then we have nothing to offer you in response to your question."

Although, you will note that I did talk about this, and you seem to have missed it.

Anonymous said...

Quixote,
"It's obviously unsound. If any known religion is true, it produces knowledge."

That is not necessarily true.

"As to the burden of proof, did you not make the positive claim that religion does not produce knowledge? If not, I apologize, and we have nothing to argue about. If so, then you bear the burden of proof."

No. My argument is that people say that religion is a way of knowing about the world, so I would like someone to show me what we actually know from religion.

"But, in any case, the argument is so weak that I don't need to offer any examples to demonstrate it's unsoundness."

Except for two problems:
1. It's not an accurate representation of the argument.
2. Even if there is a single religion that is true, that doesn't mean that religion is a way of knowing about the world or that one can point to anything we know from religion.

"Or, here's another option: if I've mischaracterized your argument, provide me with what it is you're actually arguing, formally, so that I can analyze it."

Technically, there is no formal argument, because I'm asking for others to back up their statements! I'm not technically making an argument. Instead, I'm saying that if people wish to assert that religion is a way of knowing about the world, then they should back that statement up and show us what it is that we know from religion.

"And, BTW, logic and reason is a perfectly acceptable means of refuting an argument, without examples."

Only if the logic and reason hold up.

Karla,
My blog is here.

MS Quixote said...

"Technically, there is no formal argument, because I'm asking for others to back up their statements! I'm not technically making an argument."

OK, I'll take you at your word then. But this means you're not running around saying "religion does not produce knowledge," right? You're merely asking for examples when others make the claim that it does? I don't know, my friend...I'm a bit, shall we say, skeptical :)

Karla said...

Steve, welcome back. I'm sorry but you are misinformed. There is a plethora of evidence supporting the historicity of the Bible. There have been many books written on the subject. How much study have you done of the books that claim to give such evidence by reading these books yourself?

Karla said...

Anon, I think you are asking this question as if "religion" is a story within a broader story. But the way I see it "religion" to use your word, is the grand story itself so it is not segmented out into just direct divine revelation such as written text or present day hearing from God, but is the story of all things that includes the science.

cl said...

Karla I've always felt welcomed from you. I meant I'm not welcomed on Anon's blog.

Steven I admire your tenacity but I promised myself I'd stop when I came to the first factually incorrect statement you made, which came at your sixth sentence, "The BIBLE or as you would put it “word of God” has absolutely no factual proof that any of the stories ever happened. None." Like Karla said, books of evidence you could take a gander at, but no need to go that far. Daniel's opening verses tell us, "In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god."

The fact that Nebuchadnezzar pillaged the temple area is recorded on Babylonian tablets known as the Babylonian Chronicles, which record that the number of articles taken from Jerusalem was over 580, and that they were taken back to the land of Shinar. The land of Shinar is also mentioned in archaeology on Egyptian, Assyrian, and Hittite cuneiform tablets.

MS Quixote says, "But this means you're not running around saying "religion does not produce knowledge," right? You're merely asking for examples when others make the claim that it does? I don't know, my friend...I'm a bit, shall we say, skeptical."

I'm skeptical too.

Lastly, although I'm glad he seems to have seen the argument for what it's worth, Anon can pretend nobody offered examples and ignore me until the sun comes up, but the ball is in his court to address each of the examples I left, and I fully expect an explanation why none of them constitute knowledge gained from religion.

I would be interested in hearing Quixote and Karla's opinions on them as well.

Karla said...

cl, I agree with all you have stated.

Is there something particular you wanted me to address?

Anonymous said...

"But this means you're not running around saying "religion does not produce knowledge," right?"

This is the appropriate position to hold until one can prove the positive assertion being put forth...just as it is proper to hold that god does not exist until positive evidence is produced for a god.

So, religion does not produce knowledge, until you can show that it does. Let's not get confused about what is and is not a positive assertion. My seemingly positive assertion is a negation of the positive assertion being put forth.

Anonymous said...

"Anon, I think you are asking this question as if "religion" is a story within a broader story. But the way I see it "religion" to use your word, is the grand story itself so it is not segmented out into just direct divine revelation such as written text or present day hearing from God, but is the story of all things that includes the science."

How convenient for you, Karla, to assume the sum total of all learning and simply re-label it as being part of YOUR religion. Sorry, but that dog don't hunt.

Karla said...

Again I don't separate things out to being religious or non-religious. It's all God's world and all truth is God's truth. That's all part of the package of what I am advocating. And it logically follows the reality of God's existence that He would also be the one to have given us life, and to have given us the ability to reason and learn.

I can see how things are logically fitting into your atheism or naturalism, but you cannot seem to see into my worldview to understand that this is all part of the same package of God's existence.

GCT said...

"Again I don't separate things out to being religious or non-religious. It's all God's world and all truth is God's truth."

Then you've lost the challenge.

cl said...

On-Anon you go... "So, religion does not produce knowledge, until you can show that it does."

You could address each of the ones that have been presented, you know. Also, you made three claims originally, and I notice that now you stick exclusively to one of them. Your other two claims - that we've not learned anything from divine revelation or prayer - are unfalsifiable negatives. Is that why you stopped arguing them in favor of the religion angle, which is conveniently semantic?

"This is the appropriate position to hold until one can prove the positive assertion being put forth..."

Sure, if you're biased and choose to ignore the things offered. Very strange, it is. Maybe you could address the claims to Karla or something, if you're too mad to acknowledge me? I mean, it is about the arguments and not personal emotions which can clearly obfuscate sound logic, right? Just because you're ignoring me doesn't mean you get to claim nobody's answered your "challenge," that's silly.

Karla if you agree then that means you also think the examples I offered are adequate examples of things people have learned from religion. I would be more than happy to revise my list to again meet Anon's challenge should he have some particular definition of religion that for some reason excludes the examples offered.

Quixote said...

I like Kant's take on it:

...reason frees itself by means of the theological idea from fatalism (both as blind natural necessity in the coherence of nature itself, without a first principle, and as a blind causality of this principle itself) and leads to the concept of a cause possessing freedom and hence of a Supreme Intelligence. Thus the transcendental ideas serve, if not to instruct us positively, at least to destroy the impudent and restrictive assertions of materialism, of naturalism, and of fatalism, and thus to afford scope for the moral ideas beyond the field of speculation.

GCT said...

Quixote,
In lieu of giving an example, you give this:
"Thus the transcendental ideas serve, if not to instruct us positively, at least to destroy the impudent and restrictive assertions of materialism, of naturalism, and of fatalism, and thus to afford scope for the moral ideas beyond the field of speculation."

Do you really want to take this route? It's textbook begging the question to assert that naturalism, et. al. are wrong so therefore supernaturalism is right and therefore instructive to us.

MS Quixote said...

"Do you really want to take this route?"

Appealing to Kant's example of religion producing not only knowledge, but useful and instructive knowledge? Yeah, that works for me.

And, BTW, you didn't get it. He's not begging the question.

CyberKitten said...

Quix said: Thus the transcendental ideas serve, if not to instruct us positively, at least to destroy the impudent and restrictive assertions of materialism, of naturalism, and of fatalism, and thus to afford scope for the moral ideas beyond the field of speculation.

So.... Materialism & Naturalism are 'restrictive' and - my personal favourite for today - 'impudent' (as in "Characterized by offensive boldness; insolent or impertinent"...???) as well as being 'fatalistic'..... I never realised that such apparently inoffensive terms had *such* a dark overtone. [laughs]

GCT said...

Quixote,
"Appealing to Kant's example of religion producing not only knowledge, but useful and instructive knowledge? Yeah, that works for me."

We must not be using the same dictionary, because that's not an example of anything. It's Kant speaking out of his backside and making claims about how naturalism isn't sufficient, so therefore we have to gain knowledge from supernaturalism. That is begging the question.

There's no example of useful or instructive knowledge there, just a denial that naturalism is enough. That still leaves the task of pointing out what parts naturalism can't explain and what is explained (and how) better by religion, prayer, revelation, etc. This makes 52 comments in this thread, with a lot of evasion and no actual examples. Go figure.

MS Quixote said...

Anon: "It's Kant speaking out of his backside and making claims about how naturalism isn't sufficient, so therefore we have to gain knowledge from supernaturalism. That is begging the question."

This is worse than "Hume was wrong." This passage comes from the tail end of a book where Kant is arguing in great detail the very opposite of what you're accusing him of.

"This makes 52 comments in this thread, with a lot of evasion and no actual examples. Go figure."

That's because this question is so easy, the only way to make this exercise interesting is to dole the info out in little bits and watch you dig a bigger hole for yourself with each response :) And don't forget, we're dealing with an argument that's already been demonstrated as conlusively unsupportable.

Cyber: "I never realised that such apparently inoffensive terms had *such* a dark overtone. [laughs]"

And perhaps you never realized they came directly from the philosopher most responsible for your mode of skepticism. It never fails to amaze me every time I read that passage, primarily for that reason.

GCT said...

"This is worse than "Hume was wrong." This passage comes from the tail end of a book where Kant is arguing in great detail the very opposite of what you're accusing him of."

Then I'm wondering what the full context of what he's saying is, because it sure sounds like he's saying what I've described. If that is not what he's saying, then perhaps you need to provide the full quote. Further, if he's not saying what I think he is, then why would you use it in your support?

"That's because this question is so easy, the only way to make this exercise interesting is to dole the info out in little bits and watch you dig a bigger hole for yourself with each response :)"

Uh huh, lots of bluster, not much response.

"And don't forget, we're dealing with an argument that's already been demonstrated as conlusively unsupportable."

Bzzt, wrong. Your rebuttal was unsound for the reasons I pointed out. Not only does it rely on a strawman, but it also assumes that some religion is true and that this necessarily entails that we gain knowledge from that religion. As such, you can't support either of those notions. This is starting to feel like the bravado with which you walked into the book argument, claiming it was refuted while not being able to actual provide a single refutation.

CyberKitten said...

Quix said: And perhaps you never realized they came directly from the philosopher most responsible for your mode of skepticism. It never fails to amaze me every time I read that passage, primarily for that reason.

As I have never read any Kant I couldn't possibly comment.....

MS Quixote said...

"Your rebuttal was unsound for the reasons I pointed out. Not only does it rely on a strawman, but it also assumes that some religion is true and that this necessarily entails that we gain knowledge from that religion."

Wrong on all counts as described in writing above. The only thing left to wonder about at this point is who the honest atheist is here that will agree with me.

"This is starting to feel like the bravado with which you walked into the book argument, claiming it was refuted while not being able to actual provide a single refutation."

That's an false statement, as documented in writing on this blog. I provided two: Compatibilism and Molinism, not that I even needed them, but there again, it was the only way to make things interesting. After all, how hard is it to defeat an argument when all you have to do is point to one of the most well known philosophic systems in history?

The real interesting thing (after your "Hume was wrong" intro) was how you had never heard of either compatibilism or Molinism, but were an instant expert on compatibilism and able to immediately *refute* some of the most well known thinkers in the history of thought, and an established philosophical system that has withstood not only time, but the onslaught of other great thinkers from the Libertarian camp.

Yet, compatibilism is thriving today. If it cannot be refuted by the greatest minds in the history of the known universe, and a great portion of those minds defend it, Daniel Dennett for instance, what makes you think you can? It's absurd beyond measure, and it stands as a defeater of your example.

Moreover, you ignored my Molimism solution completely. It still stands as a defeater for your book argument.

Furthermore, I didn't want to point this out at the time, but all the example reallys purports to prove is if an Omnimax God can make someone do something against their will. That just doesn't seem to difficult of a challenge to me.


Cyber:"As I have never read any Kant I couldn't possibly comment....."

Thanks Cyber...

GCT said...

Quixote,
"Wrong on all counts as described in writing above. The only thing left to wonder about at this point is who the honest atheist is here that will agree with me."

More bravado. You have yet to make your case, and instead of simply providing an example, we get more evasion.

"That's an false statement, as documented in writing on this blog. I provided two: Compatibilism and Molinism, not that I even needed them, but there again, it was the only way to make things interesting."

And, you utterly failed to show how either of them work to dispute the example, as determined by an independent arbitrator that you picked out.

"Yet, compatibilism is thriving today."

It does not specifically deal with the question that we were dealing with, since that ship has sailed.

"Moreover, you ignored my Molimism solution completely. It still stands as a defeater for your book argument."

Once again, it's not enough to simply assert that some philosophy defeats an argument. You have to show how. I can turn around and claim that rationalism defeats your argument, so therefore...but we both know it's not enough to simply assert.

Truth is that the example has not been defeated and you have not been able to show one example that defeats it...sounds kinda familiar...

"Furthermore, I didn't want to point this out at the time, but all the example reallys purports to prove is if an Omnimax God can make someone do something against their will."

Not at all. You have the choice to follow what is in the book or not, do you not? That is your contention, not whether god can pull your puppet strings. I think we all agree that god can pull puppet strings. Anyone who disagrees with that has to answer to the Bible.

MS Quixote said...

"And, you utterly failed to show how either of them work to dispute the example, as determined by an independent arbitrator that you picked out."

Again, an utter falsehood. We were not even discussing compatibilism and Molinism until the very end of the thread when the independent arbiter specifically asked me for examples that refuted your claim. I provided them at that point, and did you happen to notice that ZERO atheists at an all atheist site contradicted them? Not only did they not contradict them, they didn't even criticize them. Because, as I said at that site "Everyone remotely familiar with compatibilism already knows you're wrong." Evidently everyone remotely familiar with compatibilism did in fact know that.

The silence is deafening here as well.

"Once again, it's not enough to simply assert that some philosophy defeats an argument. You have to show how."

So I have to teach you what Molinism is in order to defeat your argument? Nonsense, if you knew what it was, you wouldn't say such things, because it refutes your argument by definition. Again, anyone remotely familiar with Molinism already knows you're wrong.

"Not at all. You have the choice to follow what is in the book or not, do you not?"

An infantile argument. So, if God lets me know in advance what is predestined to happen, yes I could choose to follow what the book says, or not, and if I chose not to God could force me to do what he already knows will happen. Duh. Is this the best you have?

GCT said...

"Again, an utter falsehood. We were not even discussing compatibilism and Molinism until the very end of the thread when the independent arbiter specifically asked me for examples that refuted your claim. I provided them at that point, and did you happen to notice that ZERO atheists at an all atheist site contradicted them?"

There only was one atheist besides me for one. Secondly, he asked you specifically to show how you would defeat it and you simply claimed that some philosophical ideas defeated the claim, which did not meet the criteria as I pointed out.

"The silence is deafening here as well."

Using your methodology for defeating arguments I guess we can declare that god does not exist. Since there are atheist philosophies, that means that the argument for god is defeated. But wait, it gets better, because since there are still theistic philosophies, then that means the atheistic argument is defeated, so god does exist. So, using your arguments, god both does and does not exist as both arguments are soundly defeated. I guess the only course of action now is to live in cognitive dissonance. You truly are a Vizzini of the modern world.

What you really seem to be missing here is that what some philosopher thinks doesn't necessarily equal what is true. Without a counter-argument, simply pointing out that some philosophers seemingly disagree with me is not enough.

"So I have to teach you what Molinism is in order to defeat your argument?"

No, you have to demonstrate how it defeats the argument. Simply because some philosophers believe X doesn't mean that an argument is falsified or defeated. Again, simply because some philosophers believe in god doesn't mean he exists.

"Nonsense, if you knew what it was, you wouldn't say such things, because it refutes your argument by definition. Again, anyone remotely familiar with Molinism already knows you're wrong."

This is just absurd. Are you saying that Molinism has proven that free will and an omni-max god are compatible and/or exist? In reality, you are presenting a philosophical argument that is contested and saying that it holds as true for some reason.

"An infantile argument. So, if God lets me know in advance what is predestined to happen, yes I could choose to follow what the book says, or not, and if I chose not to God could force me to do what he already knows will happen. Duh. Is this the best you have?"

Wow, after all this time you still don't understand the argument? You are defeating yourself. If you can choose to follow what is in the book or not, then god would have been shown wrong if you choose not. It has nothing to do with god forcing people to do anything, except that if god is omni-max, then you would be compelled to do what is in the book, lest god be shown to be in error. This is a rather simple conundrum (although I doubt that "infantile" is quite the right descriptor).

GCT said...

Quixote,
In fairness, I did bring up the book again, and I probably shouldn't have, since it is OT. I was probably being snarky so that you wouldn't think I went soft (what did you expect after chiding me for not being snarky before?*)

I think we are disagreeing by focusing on the wrong things. When you assert something like that Molinism disproves the book example, that's not true. There may be an argument that Molinists use that does this (one that has yet to be presented) but that's quite a different thing from claiming that Molinism does it on its own. Do you see what I'm getting at?


*that's a joke BTW

MS Quixote said...

"So, using your arguments, god both does and does not exist as both arguments are soundly defeated."

Which accurately represents the current state of affairs, wouldn't you say?

Now, I wouldn't say both arguments are defeated...I'd say that both arguments are defeated for some, and both have supporters. It's only the verification that remains to determine who is actually correct, if anyone.

I did get a laugh out of the Vizzini comment, though :)

"Without a counter-argument, simply pointing out that some philosophers seemingly disagree with me is not enough."

Agreed, but the philosophers I noted were in support of the counterarguments offered. That's a huge difference from the simple appeal to authority you're suggesting.


"Are you saying that Molinism has proven that free will and an omni-max god are compatible and/or exist?"

That's exactly what it does, actually, the compatibile part anyway. It's an extremely interesting sytem. You should check it out. You're also mistaken that a defeater has to be true in order to undercut your argument. It doesn't...it only needs to be logically coherent and possible, which Molinism is. IOW, I'm simply providing a potential state of affairs that contradicts your claim that "No potential state of affairs exists whereby FW and OM are compatible."

Let me cut to the chase: I actually appreciate your latest two comments immensely, and it raises my esteem for you substantially. I mean that sincerely. I was wondering if I deliberately continued to pour on my own snark how you would respond. I thank you for responding as you did.

Now, I realize we have profound disagreements, and I figure that will never change barring a miracle. I'm fine with that & I think we can remain friends (if we are indeed, which I think in a weird way we are) with those differences between us. And I don't mind hearing forceful opinions from you; I rather enjoy it actually.

My argument, then, is not so much that your two arguments are wrong (which of course I believe they are). What I'm getting at is that these arguments may work for you: IOW, that they're evidentially and logically compelling to you, though every rational observer may not agree.

To that end, I freely admit that omniscience and FW are concepts that harmonize with some difficulty, if at all. In fact, you know that I'm not the biggest advocate of Libertarian free will in the first place. We could discuss the problems endlessly. What makes communication difficult with you, however, is that your claim is much stronger than this: They're contradictory as if it were 1+1=3 and everyone's a complete idiot that doesn't agree with you. I say nonsense.

I'm fine with your reasoned conclusion that in the final analysis FW and OM just don't work together, that in the end they're just too strange to harmonize, or even that probabilistically the odds are just too long, but your assumptions are not as evident to other thinkers, both atheist and theist. Metaphysics rarely are.

"This is a rather simple conundrum (although I doubt that "infantile" is quite the right descriptor)."

Infantile was part of my deliberate snark :) It's actually a fun problem, just not as intricate and problematic as you seem to think, IMO. I'll explain myself in detail on this question and post a link here. To be sure I don't mischaracterize, please respond with the exact wording of the example:

And then, in the spirit of fairness, I'll develop and publish a positive program detailing religious knowledge. It'll probably take me 20 years to finish, but I'll get the first installments out right away :)

All in all, an enjoyable exchange, I thought. You can have the last word, for now :)

GCT said...

Quixote,
"Which accurately represents the current state of affairs, wouldn't you say?"

You're joking, right?

"I did get a laugh out of the Vizzini comment, though :)"

I'm glad that you caught on. That is one of my favorite movies.

"Agreed, but the philosophers I noted were in support of the counterarguments offered. That's a huge difference from the simple appeal to authority you're suggesting."

I don't see that as being any different. It's the counter-arguments that matter, and simply pointing to this "ism" or that "ism" does not a counter-argument make.

"That's exactly what it does, actually, the compatibile part anyway."

No, it's a thought that asserts a compatibility. There are underlying arguments, perhaps, and those need to be presented.

"You're also mistaken that a defeater has to be true in order to undercut your argument. It doesn't...it only needs to be logically coherent and possible, which Molinism is."

But, in being so, it needs to also address the actual concern. Strictly speaking, you only need to show a way that OM/FW can co-exist, but that's turned out to be a daunting task.

"IOW, I'm simply providing a potential state of affairs that contradicts your claim that "No potential state of affairs exists whereby FW and OM are compatible.""

Except, I haven't seen a potential state of affairs yet.

"Now, I realize we have profound disagreements, and I figure that will never change barring a miracle. I'm fine with that & I think we can remain friends (if we are indeed, which I think in a weird way we are) with those differences between us. And I don't mind hearing forceful opinions from you; I rather enjoy it actually."

I would hang with you in a friendship capacity.

"What makes communication difficult with you, however, is that your claim is much stronger than this: They're contradictory as if it were 1+1=3 and everyone's a complete idiot that doesn't agree with you. I say nonsense."

It shouldn't be taken that way. Everyone makes mistakes in thinking, etc. so I don't hold it against people if they happen to be wrong, just as I would not want it held against me. The reason, however, that I try to stick to simple examples, like the book example, is not to make a 1+1=3 or you're an idiot case, but to try and make the argument accessible to all. Whether I can explain it or not in more complicated terms makes little difference if others can not grasp the idea being conveyed.

"I'm fine with your reasoned conclusion that in the final analysis FW and OM just don't work together, that in the end they're just too strange to harmonize, or even that probabilistically the odds are just too long, but your assumptions are not as evident to other thinkers, both atheist and theist."

I really don't think it's a case of being too strange to juxtapose the two or that the odds are too long. I really feel that this is a case of contradictory notions.

"It's actually a fun problem, just not as intricate and problematic as you seem to think, IMO."

I've never thought it was intricate. I do think it's fun, as the most simple problems usually are. I do think it is seriously problematic.

"I'll explain myself in detail on this question and post a link here. To be sure I don't mischaracterize, please respond with the exact wording of the example..."

Which one...or both? Sorry, but I can't take the last word for now, since I need you to clarify. You want the book example, the religious knowledge example or both?

MS Quixote said...

"Which one...or both? Sorry, but I can't take the last word for now, since I need you to clarify. You want the book example, the religious knowledge example or both?"

This doesn't count as a last word, so we're good: the book example is what I had in mind, but if you're of a mind, tack on the religious knowledge challenge as well...at least define what "knowledge" would entail.

CyberKitten said...

Cyber:"As I have never read any Kant I couldn't possibly comment....."

Quix said: Thanks Cyber...

What for? [looks confused]

My personal skepticism comes, I think, from a natural inclination, my family upbringing (we're all rather skeptical) and my education. I've sort of become a skeptic by osmosis rather than agreeing with any particular philosopher - though I am rather fond of Nietzsche (and Aristotle for that matter...oh, and Rousseau has impressed me too.....).

GCT said...

Book:

If god is omnipotent and omniscient, then he has the ability to write a book that has every thought/action/feeling that you will ever have/do/feel in the future. If god were to give you this book and you were to read it, would you be able to do/think/feel anything that is not in the book?

If you have free will, then you should be able to choose to do something not written. But, this would cause the book to be in error, which would mean that god made a mistake. god, however, being omniscient can not be in error, however.

For instance, if the book said that you would die of some completely avoidable work accident (not taking into account saving someone else's life or some other heroic act), most people would call in sick that day, thus making it impossible to die at work. Just the act of trying to avoid the death would cause the book to be wrong, even if the death finally did come to pass due to whatever circumstances.

Hopefully, that is what you need (BTW, I got the argument from someone else, so don't think that I originated it).


Knowledge:
It is commonly said that science is a way of knowing about the world and that religion is another way of knowing about the world (NOMA sort of ideology). I understand how we learn from science, as it's a rather straight-forward process. I do not see how we learn anything from religion, nor do I see how the process would work. So, in order to support the idea that religion is a way of knowing about the world, I would like for someone to tell me what exactly we (humanity) know about the world from religion (and include prayer or revelation in there as appropriate). The only way that I know of to gain knowledge is through the scientific method (observation and testing). If someone claims that god told them X, we would still have to investigate X via scientific means to claim that we know it to be true. IOW, it seems that people can claim to "know" things, but they really can't until we actually do the testing and so forth. Until then, they have a hunch or a guess.

Knowledge in this sense is something that we can say we know to be true (given the usual proviso of not being able to claim absolute knowledge of anything since we may be Boltzmann brains or something).

cl said...

I just came back to see if GCT ever addressed my examples... not yet.

I see that you guys digressed substantially into the "Book" argument. I must admit, I thought about that argument quite a bit when I first heard GCT offer it elsewhere. It is an initially compelling argument whose flaws may not be readily apparent. Here's how it's written in this thread:

"If you have free will, then you should be able to choose to do something not written. But, this would cause the book to be in error, which would mean that god made a mistake. god, however, being omniscient can not be in error, however."

I think the argument is another one of those "rhetorically successful but not necessarily cogent" -type of arguments. In the real world, the very act of doing something unwritten would have already been written, and in reality, God would have to use a more fluid medium, something more like an AJAX script. Anyways, what I'm saying is that the "Book" argument deals no blow to free will. Does predictability entail coercion? I say no.

"I would like for someone to tell me what exactly we (humanity) know about the world from religion (and include prayer or revelation in there as appropriate)."

Hmmm... I see what you're saying about how if God gave a scientist an idea, the scientist still has to do the work of observation and testing. Certainly, but don't you see the difficulty? Since you don't believe the object of religion, revelation or prayer exists, by default you must re-interpret anything offered as coming from some other source, and this is exactly what I've seen to date. To further support my hunch, I left you more examples of things people have told me they've learned from religion. Do you accept them? Why or why not?

Lastly, I know all the reasons why you don't like me and why you feel I'm a horrible, dishonest person and all of that, but can you maybe just suspend your personal feelings for a moment to address the examples? Like Quixote said of himself, much of my attitude towards you was also an intentional reflection of what I perceived. Only for some reason this strategy backfired with me! Anyways, when you continually ignore me, I can't help but wonder if it might be for lack of an answer. We've gotten past our disagreements before, let's try again.