Friday, April 3, 2009

The Truth About Truth

The quotation ingrained in the minds of many "that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" has a new twist. Today it is commonly asserted that knowledge is power and as such people are concerned that those claiming to have a potentially superior knowledge are also those to be weary of for its association with power that brings corruption. On the other hand, knowledge seems to be a good thing by which we learn how to avoid corruption. Scientific knowledge, historical knowledge, and any kind of academic knowledge have been highly esteemed in civilized culture for centuries. (to read more click here)


Article written for Helium.com.

108 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The fear is that if it be kosher to make such absolutist claims then those who do not agree will be marginalized, discriminated against, or harmed in some way."

That's part of it. Another part is that we have a bad track record when we don't base our actions on actual knowledge instead of made-up stuff. Take, for instance, Iraq.

"The problem arises though that even non-religious worldviews are claims to knowing the truth."

Once again, no they are not. How many times does this need to be explained to you. Denying that you have presented evidence to convince me that your truth claim is correct does not necessarily entail that I am making my own truth claims.

"I can think of only one man who spoke as if He had the divine truth and brought not corruption, but only love and hope for humanity. That man history knows to be Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only one who not only claimed to bring truth, but to be Truth."

We don't even know if Jesus existed, and it's a safe bet that the words attributed to him in the NT are made up after the fact. So, you claim to be basing your truth on something as tenuous as the writings of people who weren't witnesses to what a potentially made-up person supposedly said, that were written decades (at least) after the events in question. Yeah, OK.

"The disciples all were martyred for their steadfast conviction of the knowledge of which we speak."

Evidence please. There is very little evidence of the outcome of the people who were supposedly Jesus's disciples. I believe that two of them were martyred, while the rest have ends that are unknown to us. This is a blatant fabrication.

"...what should have never been done and merged Christianity with the power of government."

Something we can agree on, strict church state separation!

"...as can be clearly seen in the historical records."

Erm...? Which historical records? The Bible is not a historical record, and no contemporary accounts exist of Jesus. The earliest accounts speak of people who claim to believe in someone named Jesus, and that's it.

"What if, instead of corruption and destruction, there is a knowledge that can bring life and restoration to a fallen world? What if there is such a knowledge that is mindful of our human corruption, but hopeful not on our own power and strength, but in a righteousness and peace that is not of this world? What if our answer lies not in man's knowledge, but in God's Son?"

Good luck with that. We don't gain knowledge through religion. We never have and probably never will. I've yet to hear you tell me anything that we actually learned from religion.

Karla said...

Anon, even claiming there is no truth is a truth claim. It's making a statement about the world that one sees as lining up with reality. That's a truth claim. Atheism is a truth claim -- namely that there is no God as is agnosticism -- believing that we can't know if there is or is not a God for sure.

It's difficult to take you seriously when you say things like there is no evidence for Jesus or his disciples or that the Bible was written during the time of and by eyewitnesses. I have read massive amounts of info to the contrary. Gary Habbermas who is friends with Anthony Flew is a leading if not the leading expert on the Resurrection he co-wrote a book with a man named Mike Licona The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus. It's very good and does not use the Gospels for evidence for the sake of the skeptics who refuse their validity.

Or you can check out Josh McDowell, or William Lane Craig, or Lee Strobel, or Craig Evans, Ph.D. or many others who have authored books on the subject. Even Peter Jennings' extremely liberal documentary on the life of Christ didn't put forth that he never existed. Dawkins makes ungrounded assertions to that effect, but if he did some research he'd find how ungrounded his statements are.

CyberKitten said...

Of course the full phrase is: Power corrupts, whilst absolute power corrupts absolutely.

...and who do you believe has *absolute* power......?

Also.... do you believe that mankind is *already* corrupt?

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Karla said: "It's difficult to take you seriously when you say things like there is no evidence for Jesus or his disciples or that the Bible was written during the time of and by eyewitnesses."

The only part Anonymous actually said is the last part.

Anonymous said: "We don't even know if Jesus existed, and it's a safe bet that the words attributed to him in the NT are made up after the fact."

Which is all true. We also don't know if Shakespeare existed.

Anonymous also said: "Evidence please. There is very little evidence of the outcome of the people who were supposedly Jesus's disciples. I believe that two of them were martyred, while the rest have ends that are unknown to us. This is a blatant fabrication." Emphasis Mine.

All of them being martyred really is just legend.

Someone name Jesus probably existed in that time or near it, and probably did a few things interesting enough to get some folks excited. Josephus wrote about him, but unfortunately someone "enhanced" some of what he wrote, but most scholars that I've read seem to agree that he did actually mention the Jesus known from the NT>

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Oh, and I don't know any scholars that date the gospels any earlier than decades past the proposed crucifixion date. I'm not saying that invalidates them, just that Anonymous is correct in stating so.

Anonymous said...

"Anon, even claiming there is no truth is a truth claim."

And, where did I do that?

"Atheism is a truth claim -- namely that there is no God as is agnosticism -- believing that we can't know if there is or is not a God for sure."

Do I really have to define atheism for you once again? It seems that I do. Atheism does not necessarily mean a positive assertion of no god. If there is a truth claim involved, it is that the atheist has not seen any evidence to convince her that there is a god - a claim that I highly doubt that you can argue against. If you are going to tell me that it's hard to take me serious, where does that leave you when you consistently can't cope with, understand, or use the proper definition of "atheist," completely ignore what actual atheists tell you it means, etc?

"It's difficult to take you seriously when you say things like there is no evidence for Jesus or his disciples or that the Bible was written during the time of and by eyewitnesses."

Then produce one contemporary piece of evidence. I'm sure all those books you read had to list all the contemporary sources that mention Jesus and all his miracles...so where are they?

Now, to add to what Mike said, I didn't say that he didn't exist. It's quite possible that he did, although we don't have good evidence for it. We have more evidence for the existence of Mohammed. That he probably didn't say or do the things attributed to him, is the most likely scenario by far, however, as the gospels are all late writings. The earliest writings came from Paul, who never claimed to meet an Earthly Jesus.

Karla said...

Anon, I'm sorry I was linking what you have said in the past about there being no evidence for God with what you were currently saying about not even knowing if Jesus really existed.

I will find the info on the dates of the Gospels and the extra-biblical sources of His existence. I can't get to it today. I have a lot going on this weekend. I still need to go back and provide some research from past stuff we have all discussed, I haven't forgotten I just have gotten really busy at work lately and that's where I usually get time to write.

Anon, I didn't think you were saying there was no truth to know, I was saying that even for those who say that they are making a truth claim. Everyone is making truth claims even if they don't claim certainty. I know you say that atheist don't make a positive claim, but there is still a worldview attached to atheism. It's still a way of looking at the world that you accept as lining up with reality at least in as much as you feel able to be determined with present knowledge. Moreover, is not naturalism a positive claim that many atheists adhere to?

Karla said...

Cyber, I believe on God has absolute power. And yes that humanity is corrupt and so we don't have a perfect view of the world. The best way to see through the corruption to the real is to ask God for His thoughts about things. Yes that is subjective. Some things are objective that are already written, but figuring out what God is saying is a subjective process, but the more you learn to hear Him the more you can be a little more confident, but still that confidence is rooted in Him and not in our own selves. We are designed to live life in co-habitation with God.

Karla said...

*only* not *on* in that last post

cl said...

"Denying that you have presented evidence to convince me that your truth claim is correct does not necessarily entail that I am making my own truth claims."

I've heard this argument before and I think it's BS regardless of who offers it. This claim is what I call a "glass box" claim, in the sense that the atheist simply attempts to protect themselves in a glass box. "Glass" signifies weakness, and the reason I mention weakness is because this is a weak argument: Atheism entails positive truth-claims.

"Atheism does not necessarily mean a positive assertion of no god."

I would sure hope not, but again, you're acting like atheism does not entail positive claims of its own, and I think that's BS.

CyberKitten said...

Karla, you seem to be impying that because knowledge is equated with power and power is equated with corruption that knowledge can equal corruption. Am I reading you right?

There are a few issues with this chain of reasoning. Is knowledge power? Because we know certain things does that make us more powerful than those who don't? In some cases yes, it does. If we know how to converse in a foreign language whilst abroad we have more 'power' - the ability to get what we want - than those who stumble through sign laguage and miming. But if I have a deep inderstanding of Ancient Egyptian relgious practices does that give me more power than someone who does not possess such knowledge? Maybe in very limited circumstances (if we were both asked to give a paper on the subject) but generally such knowledge would give me no advantage. The 'powerfulness' of knowledge, therefore, is surely linked to its utility.

Does power corrupt? You have already stated that the old adage of absolute power corrupting absolutely does not apply to God - who by his very nature cannot be corrupted. This implies that it is not the level of power that is important here but the corruptability of the person with the power. Surely this level of corruptability varies across a wide spectrum. Some people are easily corrupted and become fiends when given power. Others refuse to give in to this temptation and may even give up positions of power when the tempations become a factor in their thinking.

Of course you said that we are already corrupt - presumably after the Eden Incident? Of course to *become corrupt* from the original apparent state of innocence we must have already been corruptable, and if we already had this flaw in our character it was God who put it there, so we are not *wholly* responsible for our so-called 'corruption'. I'm guessing though that you would not agree with this blaming God for our natural weaknesses?

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

As an atheist my "truth claim" is that I do not share theists beliefs, so yes, its a claim about what I believe, it is not, however, a claim about what is.

If a theist says "I think God exists" that is vastly different than saying "God exists".

Anonymous said...

"Anon, I'm sorry I was linking what you have said in the past about there being no evidence for God with what you were currently saying about not even knowing if Jesus really existed."

They do tend to go hand in hand.

"Anon, I didn't think you were saying there was no truth to know, I was saying that even for those who say that they are making a truth claim."

So, you were aiming it at nebulous people that may be saying that? Because, I see no one here who is saying that.

"Everyone is making truth claims even if they don't claim certainty."

Of course people make truth claims - although not all positions are built on truth claims.

"I know you say that atheist don't make a positive claim, but there is still a worldview attached to atheism."

No, there is not. Rejecting your worldview does not necessitate a worldview of my own. I really don't understand why you can't or won't understand this pretty simple concept. Saying that you have not met your burden of proof for god is not the same as positively asserting that no god exists.

"It's still a way of looking at the world that you accept as lining up with reality at least in as much as you feel able to be determined with present knowledge. Moreover, is not naturalism a positive claim that many atheists adhere to?"

No, the way of looking at the world entailed by atheism...well there isn't one, except to be unconvinced by others' positive claims. Now, some atheists are materialists, but they are not the same. Do materialists make positive claims? Probably, yes. But, you can't conflate materialism and atheism.

cl said...

Monolith,

"As an atheist my "truth claim" is that I do not share theists beliefs, so yes, its a claim about what I believe, it is not, however, a claim about what is."

I'd have to disagree. Atheism most certainly entails truth claims about "what is."

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Please tell me what my truth claims are, since you seem to know.

cl said...

My argument is that atheism entails positive truth claims about "what is." I have no idea which of them you personally accept.

Karla said...

Cyber, I was addressing the topic of power corruption and knowledge corruption, but I was not concluding that knowledge corrupts. I would think that having knowledge (that is true knowledge) is better than having false knowledge and would lead to less corruption than not having that knowledge. I was, however, addressing peoples fears of anyone claiming to have knowledge of truth and attempting to belay them by what I talked about in the last paragraph of the article.

There is a difference between knowing there is absolute truth and claiming to have absolute knowledge of the truth about all of reality. We know in part and we don't see through clean glasses.

Karla said...

Anon so you don't have any view on reality? You don't see the world through your way of looking at it?

When I say "worldview" I don't mean you are lumped into a category of one way of looking at the world with a whole group of people. That kind of thinking doesn't do justice to peoples unique individual diverse ways of looking at things. We each have a perspective.

Amongst Christians each of us are different and have differences in how we see the world. There are particulars that are close enough that we often label our collective view of the world as the Christian worldview, but that is not to say that we all think a like. If we did that would be rather freaky. Even some who polly parrot pat answers don't actually think like the next person.

But each human being has a particular way of looking at the world. Many see that as a truth claim about reality, as I do. If you don't what do you call it?

I can't put you or Mike or Cyber in a box and define your worldview, I have seen a diversity in your views while there is a similarity as well. But you do each have ways you see the world and things you see as true about the world. I mean if you didn't think all you were talking about in your respective comments was true about reality what you are saying would not have much meaning would it? At least it wouldn't have much point if you didn't see it as true.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"My argument is that atheism entails positive truth claims about "what is." I have no idea which of them you personally accept. "

I was talking about me, not atheists as a group, since there is no group after all.

MS Quixote said...

"Saying that you have not met your burden of proof for god is not the same as positively asserting that no god exists."

I tend to agree with this, anon, as far as the negative atheism you seem to represent goes. It appears to me though, that this claim is best stated as "in anon's estimation of the evidence presented, the burden of proof has not been met"--and I'm quite comfortable with that.

In my estimation, however, the evidence supports belief in God, and since your lack of positive assertion for atheism provides me with no reason to belive atheism is true, as perhaps a positive atheist would argue, it leaves us at an impasse.

I've also observed that while it's true that atheism is a fractured and diverse grouping of folks, there's certain propositions that atheists nearly universally affirm in numbers that make the fringe atheists who do not affirm these propositions negligible.

Is it religious doctrine? Not in my view, but atheists seem no different that non-atheists in their human proclivity for structuring their observations in a manner that makes sense of the world to them.

Karla said...

I'm sure we have all met people who give little to no thought about the world and care little to philosophize about reality. Those people, while they still have a way they look at the world, thus a worldview, are more apt not to be making much of a claim about the nature of reality (ie: truth claim). It just is and they just are.

But it appears to me that those who are vocal about what reality is or is not are making claims even if they are doing so in the negative instead of in the positive. I do see Anon, that you are very careful in your wording to try to avoid proclaiming what is or what is not by simply saying there is not sufficient evidence. Though to me that would seem a rather agnostic view of reality but does to me seem like a truth claim of "not enough evidence for theism." I can, however, see how you don't see that as a claim about reality.

As Quixote says it seems rather an impasse. Nevertheless I am not resigned to leave it at that yet. As it would seem none of us are as we continue to dialog.

I don't know if you guys think about the things we are talking about throughout the week as much as I do. I'm always pondering the things we talk about here and trying to find new ways to aid the discussion.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I was not concluding that knowledge corrupts.

Good. Do you think that any particular knowledge *could* corrupt?

karla said: We know in part and we don't see through clean glasses.

Mine are always in need of a good clean... [grin]

karla said: We each have a perspective.

Of course we do! It'd be pretty difficult *not* to have a perspective.

karla said: But each human being has a particular way of looking at the world. Many see that as a truth claim about reality, as I do. If you don't what do you call it?

By truth claim do you simply mean that people say "Things are like this or things are like that" Is saying "I don't believe in God" a truth claim? I don't think so. Saying "God does not exist" is certainly a truth claim but few Atheists are that hard-core.

karla said: I can't put you or Mike or Cyber in a box and define your worldview, I have seen a diversity in your views while there is a similarity as well.

That's because we have some opinions in common. I'm sure that we have some points in common with you too. After all we're from very similar cultural backgrounds.

Quix said: In my estimation, however, the evidence supports belief in God....

What evidence?

Quix said: while it's true that atheism is a fractured and diverse grouping of folks, there's certain propositions that atheists nearly universally affirm...

Of course. Otherwise we couldn't be *defined* as Atheists. We're a pretty diverse bunch though. Atheism is only *part* of who I am - and only a small part at that. It's certainly not the first thing that comes to mind when I define myself.

karla said: atheists seem no different that non-atheists in their human proclivity for structuring their observations in a manner that makes sense of the world to them.

That's a definite DUH! comment. [laughs] *Of Course* we all try to make sense of the world! It's what we do.....

karla said: I don't know if you guys think about the things we are talking about throughout the week as much as I do. I'm always pondering the things we talk about here and trying to find new ways to aid the discussion.

I *like* thinking. Thinking is FUN.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Since most of us comment every day, I'm pretty sure we all think about it.

Karla said -- "I'm sure we have all met people who give little to no thought about the world and care little to philosophize about reality."

Yes, both theists and non-theists can be like this. I love philosophy, but my great thirst for knowledge is no where near as great as it once was. When I left my version of the One True Faith™ and realized that I did not believe anyone could ever be 100% certain about issues of faith, it just didn't seem as important to me. Now relationships are much more important to me, even though they were before too.

So for the most part I see myself empathizing with the people you mention. The people who believe what they believe and just live their lives without flying any banners of faith or the lack thereof. Most of the time I am one of them.

Karla said...

Cyber said "Good. Do you think that any particular knowledge *could* corrupt?"

Good question. I think so. I'm assume we aren't talking about knowledge such as how to make an atomic bomb, but knowledge about how the world works. Though I wonder, come to think of it, if it is not the knowledge of something, but the stance we take because of knowledge. For instance, if someone takes something that is true and uses violence to force submission to that truth. I'm not sure that it is the knowledge that was the problem, but what the person did with it. I think we need wisdom to merge with our knowledge.

Cyber said, "Mine are always in need of a good clean"

Same here.

Cyber said "By truth claim do you simply mean that people say "Things are like this or things are like that"

Yes.

Cyber said " Is saying "I don't believe in God" a truth claim? I don't think so. Saying "God does not exist" is certainly a truth claim but few Atheists are that hard-core."

I'm still thinking about that. Is that position the one that is really being held or is it given to avoid the philosophical problems with saying "God does not exist." I'm not alleging any dishonesty, but just asking.

Cyber said "I *like* thinking. Thinking is FUN."

Me too!

Oh and the quote you attributed to me which included the word "proclivity" was Quixote not me.

cl said...

Monolith,

"I was talking about me, not atheists as a group, since there is no group after all."

1) That there is "no group" of atheists seems false to me;

2) Again, of the truth claims atheism entails, how would I know which you accept?

MS,

"Saying that you have not met your burden of proof for god is not the same as positively asserting that no god exists." (Anon)

I agree as well. However, the above statement is not the same as, "Atheism does not entail positive truth claims." Atheism does entail positive truth claims.

"It appears to me though, that this claim is best stated as "in anon's estimation of the evidence presented, the burden of proof has not been met..."

Yes.

CyberKitten,

"Is saying "I don't believe in God" a truth claim? I don't think so."

I agree with you on this.

Karla said...

Mike, you don't have to be 100% certain to commit to a direction of truth. You've said you are not 100% certain there is no god, but you seem rather committed to that direction at present and interpret reality in that stream of thinking. I am not positing that we can have all the answers now, but that we don't have them all, but we can see enough to find the right direction to journey in our search for more answers and more truth. Everyone, I believe, chooses one direction over another based on their experiences, knowledge, and faith to walk that course.

I agree relationships are more important than agreeing on the same doctrines/beliefs/disbeliefs/truth claims/ ect. That's really why it matters so much to me, because what I am talking about isn't relegated to the informational intellectual mind, but has everything to do with the relational core of our beings. I think that head truth effects heart truth and there needs to be a practical convergence between the two to really accept something or someone as truth.

Anonymous said...

"Anon so you don't have any view on reality? You don't see the world through your way of looking at it?"

No, I'm saying that atheism is not a "worldview." There's a difference.

"When I say "worldview"...We each have a perspective."

Trivially true.

"Amongst Christians each of us are different and have differences in how we see the world."

Generally the Nicene Creed holds for Xians, right?

"But each human being has a particular way of looking at the world. Many see that as a truth claim about reality, as I do. If you don't what do you call it?"

Again, trivially true (the way you've defined it), but it's not atheism that is a "worldview."

Karla said...

cl said
"1) That there is "no group" of atheists seems false to me;"


They mean there is no set "doctrine" or way of thinking for all atheists. They don't all think alike. Just as Christians are diverse in their perspective as are any group of thinkers. We are all individuals and don't like to be seen as a collective mind. So in that regard I agree.

There may be a grand atheists world view, that excludes theism, but there are a vast number of sub worldviews and within them sub worldviews down to the individual level. And even then the way each person sees the world doesn't stay static, it changes over time with new knowledge and new experiences. That's why the postmodernist claim postmodernism is not a worldview because they don't wanted to be labeled or limited by a certain brand of thinking. So I get that.

Karla said...

Anon asked "Generally the Nicene Creed holds for Xians, right?"

Pretty much as an over arching creed. But there is much diversity in thought and perspectives and that's cool with me. There are somethings that are foundational and necessary, but there is much freedom as well or at least there ought to be. I value the variety of perspectives and thoughts from the diversity that is out there in the body of Christ as well as the perspectives of those who aren't in relationship with Christ.

Anonymous said...

Quixote,
"I tend to agree with this, anon, as far as the negative atheism you seem to represent goes. It appears to me though, that this claim is best stated as "in anon's estimation of the evidence presented, the burden of proof has not been met"--and I'm quite comfortable with that."

In the strictest sense, that may be correct. Considering that I've read the "evidence" presented from apologists, however, and given that if compelling evidence did exist for god that someone would present it, I'm pretty confident in my assertion that no evidence exists.

"In my estimation, however, the evidence supports belief in God, and since your lack of positive assertion for atheism provides me with no reason to belive atheism is true, as perhaps a positive atheist would argue, it leaves us at an impasse."

That's not quite kosher, and I think you know why. For others who might not know why, first, I'm not simply claiming that I don't believe - there are reasons I do not believe, from actively pointing out the holes in the given "evidence" to providing positive proofs that show that many conceptions of god(s) are logically inconsistent. Second, evidence is irrespective of subjectivity, so I don't see relative appeals to evidence as being correct or compelling. Third, given that the evidence is not presented anywhere and given the attributes that god supposedly has, the lack of belief of many is evidence in itself against certain god conceptions.

"I've also observed that while it's true that atheism is a fractured and diverse grouping of folks, there's certain propositions that atheists nearly universally affirm in numbers that make the fringe atheists who do not affirm these propositions negligible."

Such as? And, how are they entailed in the simple idea of not believing in god?

"Not in my view, but atheists seem no different that non-atheists in their human proclivity for structuring their observations in a manner that makes sense of the world to them."

Yes, atheists are human too.

Anonymous said...

"We are all individuals and don't like to be seen as a collective mind."

No, that's not it at all. It's not that I'm sitting here thinking, "Oh please don't say I think like other atheists!"

It's a matter of accuracy and using the correct words and ideas.

"There may be a grand atheists world view..."

Once again, no there is not. Saying, "I don't believe in YOUR god" does not necessitate that I have asserted a positive worldview, even a "grand" one. Let's try and be accurate here.

Anonymous said...

"There are somethings that are foundational and necessary, but there is much freedom as well or at least there ought to be. I value the variety of perspectives and thoughts from the diversity that is out there in the body of Christ as well as the perspectives of those who aren't in relationship with Christ."

I'm not sure how you support this opinion. For you, isn't there an ultimate truth? Therefore, diversity of opinion is a whole lot of wrong opinions with one and only one potentially being right.

Karla said...

Anon said "I'm not sure how you support this opinion. For you, isn't there an ultimate truth? Therefore, diversity of opinion is a whole lot of wrong opinions with one and only one potentially being right."

There are many things that aren't spelled out in Scripture that are open for diversity of perspectives. That doesn't mean all are right, but that means all have valuable input to consider and we can't rule anyone's perspective out if it doesn't contradict the foundational things. For instance, Christians are all over the spectrum with regard to political views. All like to argue that their view is the right one, but those are things not clear enough to be so certain. Sure we each have reasons and evidence to support our view (at least we should) but the Church today is largely coming to a place of learning to value the diversity of denominational differences and political ideologies with the realization that we do know in part and we can have relationship as a body and still have different perspectives. I think it would be rather cultist if we thought alike in a cookie cutter fashion or if we expected everyone to do so (some do indeed expect this but it is not realistic nor necessary). Being a disciple of Jesus isn't about a uniformed strict adherence to an exact thought pattern about everything, but having relationship with Jesus and getting to know His truth as we grow in Him always knowing we know in part and not taking that part and treating it like an absolute whole.

Like I said positing that truth is true for everyone doesn't mean that we can know every iota of that truth in the here and now. Claiming to in that sense, is what causes lots of problems. I think we both agree on this point. Right?

GCT said...

"For instance, Christians are all over the spectrum with regard to political views."

Are you limiting the scope to things that you feel are outside the purview of religion and especially your god's cares?

"I think it would be rather cultist if we thought alike in a cookie cutter fashion or if we expected everyone to do so (some do indeed expect this but it is not realistic nor necessary)."

I find it to be rather "cultish" either way.

"Being a disciple of Jesus isn't about a uniformed strict adherence to an exact thought pattern about everything, but having relationship with Jesus and getting to know His truth as we grow in Him always knowing we know in part and not taking that part and treating it like an absolute whole."

Presumably, it's about coming towards truth, as you have said. So, if there's all these divergent viewpoints within the religion over how to attain that truth, or what that truth is, then what? It sounds like the person that disdain postmodernism so much is now claiming that many roads lead to god?

"Like I said positing that truth is true for everyone doesn't mean that we can know every iota of that truth in the here and now."

It's not about knowing every iota, but about what happens when two people have divergent views? If you know anything about the history of Xianity, you know that this is a situation that happens frequently.

"Claiming to in that sense, is what causes lots of problems. I think we both agree on this point. Right?"

Yes, claiming to have absolute truth and then acting on it does cause problems.

cl said...

"I think that head truth effects heart truth and there needs to be a practical convergence between the two to really accept something or someone as truth." (Karla)

Very well said.

"There are many things that aren't spelled out in Scripture that are open for diversity of perspectives." (Karla)

For example, vegetarianism and veganism.

"Denying that you have presented evidence to convince me that your truth claim is correct does not necessarily entail that I am making my own truth claims." (Anon)

Phrased as such this is true, and can logically co-exist with my argument that atheism entails positive truth claims about the world.

"They mean there is no set "doctrine" or way of thinking for all atheists. "(Karla)

I'd say that applies more to an agnostic because there are set ways of thinking for all atheists. As you say, there are things which are foundational and necessary to believe in order to be an atheist. Although I'm rarely a fan of using all-inclusive quantifiers in logical arguments, mustn't all atheists at least believe there is probably no God? Mustn't all atheists believe creationism in any form is false? Well, negative claims always entail positive claims, and vice-versa. Hence, unless we are truly agnostic, we must believe in the opposite of what we disbelieve, and there we find atheism's positive truth claims.

"Saying, "I don't believe in YOUR god" does not necessitate that I have asserted a positive worldview, even a "grand" one. Let's try and be accurate here." (Anon)

From my perspective, it's you who's being inaccurate here, and I'd say Richard Carrier agrees: "I know the myth of "you can't prove a negative" circulates throughout the nontheist community, and it is good to dispel myths whenever we can. As it happens, there really isn't such a thing as a "purely" negative statement, because every negative entails a positive, and vice versa. Thus, "there are no crows in this box" entails "this box contains something other than crows" (in the sense that even "no things" is something, e.g. a vacuum). "Something" is here a set restricted only by excluding crows, such that for every set S there is a set Not-S, and vice versa, so every negative entails a positive and vice versa."

Makes sense to me.

Karla said...

GCT, I'm not limiting the scope. I don't separate truth out to secular and religious.

I also said there were certain things that were necessary and foundational truths. But there are also many things that are not spelled out and necessary to be "just so." And in that there is a plethora of diversity on various things.

Yes, I am starting to see some truth in postmodernism as I see some truth in modernist thinking.

Oh, and I am not saying all roads lead to God, as I did say there are certain foundational things that are necessary truths.

Moreover Jesus taught we are to love those who persecute us or those who are our enemies and we are to love our neighbor as our self. So there is no room for violence against another. He said to be kind to those who do wrong to us. So no matter what we are to be kind and show people God's love.

quixote said...

"there are reasons I do not believe, from actively pointing out the holes in the given "evidence" to providing positive proofs that show that many conceptions of god(s) are logically inconsistent."

I'm fine with this too, anon, although in these specific instances, you've transitioned into a positive atheism that does make truth claims. For instance, I would characterize you as a positive atheist when it comes specifically to the Christian God. And, your atheism bears the burden of positive claims in this regard: defending a view of the incoherence of an omnimax god, for example.

"Second, evidence is irrespective of subjectivity, so I don't see relative appeals to evidence as being correct or compelling"

I'm good with this as well. But often, the interpretation of evidence is subjective. What makes sense to you may not make sense to me. One or both of us are wrong where we disagree, true enough, and in that sense I would agree that it's objective.

"Third, given that the evidence is not presented anywhere and given the attributes that god supposedly has, the lack of belief of many is evidence in itself against certain god conceptions."

I agree with this as well, anon, though we might disagree on specific applications of the principle.

"Such as? And, how are they entailed in the simple idea of not believing in god?"

Did you really mean "not believing in god" here, or did you mean "reservation of a belief decision until sufficient evidence is offered" as you were proposing before? If you choose to assert that you think the god concept is false, its a positive belief and one that would seem to commit you to a belief that life arose from purely natural causes.

If it's the latter, I don't see that you would be committed to the proposition that life arose from natural causes, but weak atheists hold it in such great numbers that it seems nearly universal in its application, even if its held with a negligible amount of doubt.

At any rate, the claim is not that they're necessarily or logically entailed, but that practically they're inseparable.

"Yes, atheists are human too."

Have I ever said any different?

cl said: "Atheism does entail positive truth claims."

I agree. Even a pure negative atheism will be forced to make truth claims about evidence that it rejects, or just the simple positive truth claim that "I have never observed any compelling reason to believe in God." Agnosticism makes a truth claim IMO too: "we are not in a position to know one way or the other."

Where this question gets hairy is when the question of whether there is a genuine null set arises. The atheist's contention--anon can chime in here if he wishes--may be that atheism is a default or perhaps an empty a priori position: one we start at before we think at all, and a set that remains empty until something lodges within it. In that sense, I can envision the claim...I just haven't decided fully yet whether I think it's true or not.

Great discussion. I think it's positive to get this out there.

cl said...

Quixote,

"Where this question gets hairy is when the question of whether there is a genuine null set arises."

NULL is the only position I know of that does not entail truth claims.

"The atheist's contention--anon can chime in here if he wishes--may be that atheism is a default or perhaps an empty a priori position: one we start at before we think at all, and a set that remains empty until something lodges within it."

Sans knowledge, NULL is always the default position. Sans knowledge also happens to be the definition of agnostic, and that's why I think the only person who can truly say their belief does not entail positive truth claims is the one who lacks knowledge.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Is that position the one that is really being held or is it given to avoid the philosophical problems with saying "God does not exist." I'm not alleging any dishonesty, but just asking.

It's quite difficult to say "God does not exist" because we can't really be sure. Saying that "I do not believe that God exists" is easy however. I think that the odds in favour of God's existence are very low but such a thing is not impossible.

karla said: Oh and the quote you attributed to me which included the word "proclivity" was Quixote not me.

Sorry. My bad.

karla said: I think that head truth effects heart truth and there needs to be a practical convergence between the two to really accept something or someone as truth.

Reason and Emotion should certainly be on speaking terms with each other but I think that emotional responses are unreliable much more than reasonable responses are. In any kind of reason/emotion relationship it is reason that should have the final word.

Anon said: I'm saying that atheism is not a "worldview."

Indeed. Atheism might be *part* of a world view but it is not a world view in itself.

cl said: mustn't all atheists at least believe there is probably no God? Mustn't all atheists believe creationism in any form is false?

Well, the first point is pretty much a definition of Atheism - and the second point follows from the first. If there is no God you can't have special creation can you? They are not "ways of thinking" though - they are points of agreement.

Quix said: If you choose to assert that you think the god concept is false, its a positive belief and one that would seem to commit you to a belief that life arose from purely natural causes.

I do not believe in God and think/believe that life "arose from purely natural causes". Although how *exactly* that happened.... I'm not exactly sure.. [grin]

Quixote said...

cl said: "NULL is the only position I know of that does not entail truth claims."

That's the story, and it seems right, but is it? I thinks this is a difficult question that deserves more than a kneejerk reaction, not to imply that you're kneejerking. You're the least kneejerking person I've met.

Null sets appear valid in mathematics, but in real life can they really exist within a conscious mind once they've been conceived? With the idea of God, how can someone really maintain a null set? If nothing else we import a host of cultural, philosophic, and personal biases. it's a difficult question, I think, the more you peer into it.

Cyber: "I do not believe in God and think/believe that life "arose from purely natural causes". Although how *exactly* that happened.... I'm not exactly sure.. [grin]"

That's pretty much the idea I was getting at :)

cl said...

CyberKitten,

"Atheism might be *part* of a world view but it is not a world view in itself."

Do you extend this gratuity to theism as well? Why? Or, why not?

Well, the first point is pretty much a definition of Atheism - and the second point follows from the first... I do not believe in God and think/believe that life "arose from purely natural causes." (bold mine)

Feel free to clarify, but these seem to directly echo the point I've been trying to make all along: Atheism entail positive truth claims about what is.

They are not "ways of thinking" though - they are points of agreement.

I think that's just a semantic dance.

Quixote,

Of course it's just a free lunch I'm about to offer you, meant for further discourse and not to advance a reasoned conclusion or truth-claim, but isn't it a valid hypothesis that human beings are all born NULL? That our brains are "empty slates?"

You're the least kneejerking person I've met.

Thanks Quixote, and please, do know that I think equally highly of you, and always enjoy our discussions.

MS Quixote said...

Tabula Rasa? Absolutely a valid hypothesis, cl, and very well recommended by some of the best thinkers. It has much going for it, and I think any theory that disregards it entirely is not at all likely to be true.

It strikes me as contrary to Christian teaching, though, when you factor in original sin and creation in the image of God. If that's truly the case, I would think it a point in atheism's favor if it could be demonstrated conclusively.

For the purposes of this discussion, however, it wouldn't seem to matter one way or the other, since by the time one was able to conceive of or reflect on atheism and nulls sets, the set would no longer be null.

Free lunch back to you: does consciousness itself preclude a null set, or, does the act of conceiving a null set, non-mathematically, automatically nullify the null set?

"do know that I think equally highly of you, and always enjoy our discussions."

Thanks, and I heartily return the sentiment :)

cl said...

Quixote,

It strikes me as contrary to Christian teaching, though, when you factor in original sin and creation in the image of God.

Hmmm... you lost me here. I'm assuming the "you" in that sentence refers to an hypothetical thinker? If not, I don't see how this entails anything I've said, or what the connection is between NULL sets and original sin...

For the purposes of this discussion, however, it wouldn't seem to matter one way or the other, since by the time one was able to conceive of or reflect on atheism and nulls sets, the set would no longer be null.

Makes sense to me, and I'd like to further clarify. Let X = the NULL position regarding God ideas; let Y = the condition of possessing information but not reaching a conclusion; and let Z = the condition of making a conclusion. The way I see it, all instances of Z entail positive truth claims. So far, I haven't been able to think of even a single conclusion that does not entail a positive truth claim. One doesn't have to be X and only X regarding God ideas to avoid entailing positive truth claims; one can also be Y. But the minute we make any conclusion Z, that conclusion entails positive truth claims, whether the conclusion itself is actually positive (There is a God) or negative (There is no God).

Free lunch back to you: does consciousness itself preclude a null set, or, does the act of conceiving a null set, non-mathematically, automatically nullify the null set?

Currently, I don't think consciousness precludes any NULL set. For example, there are areas of knowledge about which I literally possess zero bits of information in my brain, and I am conscious (most of the time at least).

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Tabula Rasa doesn't seem to jibe with Romans Chapter 1. I think that was Quixote's point.

Karla said...

I'm not familiar with "null set." I am assuming you are discussing if it is possible to have a neutral worldview?

Quixote said...

"If not, I don't see how this entails anything I've said,"

Sloppy on my part, cl...not directed at you. Mike clarified it pretty well, though. And it's more a notion against the clean slate than null sets, though they're interrelated. If we're born with certain innate qualities transferred to us from the image of God, and with a spiritual bent from original sin, it's hard to see how we would be born as clean slates.

"But the minute we make any conclusion Z, that conclusion entails positive truth claims, whether the conclusion itself is actually positive (There is a God) or negative (There is no God)."

Agreed, but this does not take into account weak atheism or agnosticism. I believe they would claim to have not progressed to a conclusion Z. To support your conclusion against this charge, you'll need to demonstrate that a refusal to accept [evidence] is a positive claim made by the weak atheist.

It gets trickier, because, as you note, positive claims are being made: the Bible is contradictory, the cosmological argument is unsound, another's experience is not binding, etc., yet these positive claim are in a sense denials, or propositions that are claimed not to inhabit the set of evidence based on their denial. It's a sticky problem to get one's mind around.

Moreover, it gets more fun, IMO:

"I don't think consciousness precludes any NULL set. For example, there are areas of knowledge about which I literally possess zero bits of information in my brain, and I am conscious (most of the time at least)."

Absolutely true, especially when we are dealing with null sets of a naturalistic nature: How many planets are orbiting planet X in the X star system, for instance. But metaphysical null sets begin with biases, conceptions, and conscious states, even when considering the set itself. We import this baggage to the set itself, which causes me to doubt if a metaphysical set really can be null in many cases. This presents a primary difficulty for Russell's teapot, IMO.

This lack of empiric verification may render the null set either problematic, or in many folk's opinions irrelevant. After all, if we can't know, it follows we can't know. Nevertheless, do abstract objects actually exist? Can there be a null set for this metaphysical question?

Certainly we all know what the number three is, and thus it appears to me that it may not be possible for a null set to exist for this question, and even though we're not sure whether the answer is realism or nominalism, or varieties thereof, since we possess so much knowledge of the number three, and in some sense it's "there," a null set seems unlikely. Furthermore, our metaphysical beliefs (naturalism/supernaturalism) will bias our thinking, which makes me doubt the validity of the null set in these cases. When one factors in the categories by which our consciousness processes the information--time, space, motion, etc--the water just gets muddier. Actually, that leads to a great question itself: do null sets exist as abstract objects?

And, if god does not exist, certainly the concept of God as an abstract object is present to our minds in the same manner that the number three is, whatever that may be. Thus, can we really disassociate the abstract object from our consciousness and maintain a null set?

Sorry to ramble...I'm thinking out loud and in public. I shouldn't do that, and please don't hold me to any strict standard for accuracy :) Y'all have struck a chord with me, thanks...I think I'll prepare a formal thought on this.

Anonymous said...

"I also said there were certain things that were necessary and foundational truths. But there are also many things that are not spelled out and necessary to be "just so." And in that there is a plethora of diversity on various things."

So, as long as I believe in the foundational things, it doesn't matter what other beliefs I hold?

"Yes, I am starting to see some truth in postmodernism as I see some truth in modernist thinking."

Wow. Simply wow.

Anonymous said...

Quixote,
"I'm fine with this too, anon, although in these specific instances, you've transitioned into a positive atheism that does make truth claims."

Whether I do that or not, it is not a necessary condition of being an atheist.

"For instance, I would characterize you as a positive atheist when it comes specifically to the Christian God. And, your atheism bears the burden of positive claims in this regard: defending a view of the incoherence of an omnimax god, for example."

It's already been well shown that the tenets of the omni-max god are not logically consistent. But, I do take the position that logically inconsistent gods are not possible.

"I'm good with this as well. But often, the interpretation of evidence is subjective. What makes sense to you may not make sense to me."

Then it's not a good example of evidence.

"Did you really mean "not believing in god" here, or did you mean "reservation of a belief decision until sufficient evidence is offered" as you were proposing before?"

If I don't hold a positive belief in god, then I "don't believe in god." It still doesn't mean that I'm making a positive claim (except in the limited sense that I'm positively reporting my stance on the question).

"If you choose to assert that you think the god concept is false, its a positive belief and one that would seem to commit you to a belief that life arose from purely natural causes."

Sorry, but that's not a necessary assertion from atheism - neither of them.

"If it's the latter, I don't see that you would be committed to the proposition that life arose from natural causes, but weak atheists hold it in such great numbers that it seems nearly universal in its application, even if its held with a negligible amount of doubt."

Whether it's universally held or not doesn't mean that it's logically necessary as a positive belief. IOW, that atheists tend to hold that life arose through purely natural processes does not mean that atheism entails this positive belief.

"At any rate, the claim is not that they're necessarily or logically entailed, but that practically they're inseparable."

No, that's not what the claim has been.

"Have I ever said any different?"

It was a joke based on the statement you made.

"Where this question gets hairy is when the question of whether there is a genuine null set arises. The atheist's contention--anon can chime in here if he wishes--may be that atheism is a default or perhaps an empty a priori position: one we start at before we think at all, and a set that remains empty until something lodges within it. In that sense, I can envision the claim...I just haven't decided fully yet whether I think it's true or not."

Unless we really do have a god gene whereby people are born already believing in god, then atheism is the default state. We do not believe in gods until someone fills our heads with their superstitions.

Karla said...

Anon said "So, as long as I believe in the foundational things, it doesn't matter what other beliefs I hold?"

No that's not it. Certainly it matters if we are going around believing something that doesn't line up with reality. But there is also plenty of wiggle room with some things because we only know in part. That means we ought not to be black and white about things that God hasn't given us a black and white paradigm for.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Certainly it matters if we are going around believing something that doesn't line up with reality.

You keep using the phrase 'line up with reality' but we have failed to agree on what exactly does 'line up' with things. I think that part of the problem is that we don't agree on exactly what *reality* is! Your reality has God in it so your beliefs line up with that 'reality', whereas my reality does not contain God and so my belief line up with *that* reality - and we're back at stage 1 again.

cl said: Do you extend this gratuity to theism as well? Why? Or, why not?

Theism - in all of its many wonderful flavours is certainly *more* of a world view than Atheism. Religion, pretty much by definition, says that there are certain acceptable ways to look at the world and other 'clearly' unacceptable ways.

Atheism is a sceptical position regarding the existence of God. Other things may follow on from this belief but on its own it is not much of a world view. For instance my atheism doesn't inform what I eat, what I wear, who I associate with, who I vote for, what books I read or.... very little actually. If I have a world view (I think I have several overlapping views if I think about it) it's that I believe in Natural explanations of phenomena in preference to Supernatural ones. Many (though not all) of my beliefs stem from this.

cl said: Feel free to clarify, but these seem to directly echo the point I've been trying to make all along: Atheism entail positive truth claims about what is.

Maybe so. It's difficult for a belief to exist in glorious isolation. A disbelief in God will obviously have 'knock-on' effects on other God related beliefs. For example, if I do not believe in God I'm unlikely to believe that Jesus was his son. Nor am I likely to believe in miracles associated with God nor any other God related activities.

Anonymous said...

"No that's not it. Certainly it matters if we are going around believing something that doesn't line up with reality."

Then, diversity of opinion would not be good, correct?

"But there is also plenty of wiggle room with some things because we only know in part."

What does diversity of opinion get us on this?

"That means we ought not to be black and white about things that God hasn't given us a black and white paradigm for."

How do you know which parts are god's black and white? Oh, and may I point out the irony?

Anonymous said...

ck said:
"Maybe so. It's difficult for a belief to exist in glorious isolation. A disbelief in God will obviously have 'knock-on' effects on other God related beliefs. For example, if I do not believe in God I'm unlikely to believe that Jesus was his son. Nor am I likely to believe in miracles associated with God nor any other God related activities."

We should be careful here as well. Sure, if we don't believe in the Xian god, then we also don't believe that Jesus was the son of this non-existent god, but that's still not a positive truth claim. It's simply an extension of disbelief in god, not a further positive argument in itself.

cl said...

Monolith,

Romans 1 contains 32 verses on subjects ranging from Paul's travels to homosexuality in Rome. Although I didn't mind reading the whole chapter to search for what you had in mind, I still found nothing that seems to relate to the topic.

Quixote,

If we're born with certain innate qualities transferred to us from the image of God, and with a spiritual bent from original sin, it's hard to see how we would be born as clean slates.

Okay, now I see where you and Monolith were going. First, let me clarify: To me, Tabula Rasa and NULL at birth are synonymous. NULL refers to the absence of data, not an allegedly spiritual disposition, and for that reason, I see no conflict.

Agreed, but this does not take into account weak atheism or agnosticism.

Unless I'm misunderstanding you, it most certainly does, and I addressed agnosticism specifically: "Sans knowledge also happens to be the definition of agnostic, and that's why I think the only person who can truly say their belief does not entail positive truth claims is the one who lacks knowledge. (April 6, 2009 6:20 PM)" Weak atheists are often categorically identical to agnostics, and anyone who comes to any conclusion on any issue entails a positive truth claim related to that issue. Denial only entails a positive truth claim when accompanied by a conclusion, and I can't speak for all who deny, but I most certainly think Anon's denial is accompanied by positive truth claims.

To support your conclusion against this charge, you'll need to demonstrate that a refusal to accept [evidence] is a positive claim made by the weak atheist.

Problem is, I can't speak for all weak atheists. That's why I say, anyone who reaches any conclusion about any issue entails a positive truth claim about that issue, regardless of how they label their belief system.

Saying that the Bible is contradictory is a positive truth claim. It also entails the negative truth claim, "The Bible is not internally consistent."

But metaphysical null sets begin with biases, conceptions, and conscious states, even when considering the set itself.

To me, there is no reason to distinguish between physically and metaphysically NULL. Any "set" that begins with bias was not NULL.

The rest of your comment got too deep for this thread, but I loved it.

Karla,

That means we ought not to be black and white about things that God hasn't given us a black and white paradigm for.

Exactly. Vegetarianism, celebration of holidays, whether one marries or not, etc.

CyberKitten,

Theism - in all of its many wonderful flavours is certainly *more* of a world view than Atheism.

At the most rudimentary level, I tend to disagree. There's either a God or not. How does the person who believes there is entail "more" worldview than the one who does not?

Religion, pretty much by definition, says that there are certain acceptable ways to look at the world and other 'clearly' unacceptable ways.

The same goes for skepticism and atheism, which hold rationalism acceptable and superstitiousness unacceptable as means of discerning the real truth, right?

For instance my atheism doesn't inform what I eat, what I wear, who I associate with, who I vote for, what books I read or.... very little actually.

I'm willing to go out on a presuppositional limb here and bet that you don't wear T-Shirts saying "Jesus is Lord" and that you don't vote for Christian conservatives.

To me, the simple fact that nobody has refuted yet is this: There are things one must believe to be intellectually fulfilled as an atheist, or a believer. Atheism entails naturalism, which is a positive truth claim. Theism entails "supernaturalism," which is also a positive truth claim.

...I think I have several overlapping views if I think about it...

I feel the same way about myself.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: How does the person who believes there is entail "more" worldview than the one who does not?

I can only speak personnally but it seems to me that theists are dictated to by their various beliefs. It colours everything they do. As an atheist my disbelief seems to have very little impact on me. If I was to describe myself in 5 words I doubt very much if 'atheist' would even be mentioned. It's just not that important. Theists, however, seem to hold their beliefs as central to their lives and often as their defining characteristic - or at least in the top 3. That's the difference I'm getting at.

cl said: The same goes for skepticism and atheism, which hold rationalism acceptable and superstitiousness unacceptable as means of discerning the real truth, right?

Indeed. I'm not really explaining myself very well here...

cl said: I'm willing to go out on a presuppositional limb here and bet that you don't wear T-Shirts saying "Jesus is Lord" and that you don't vote for Christian conservatives.

[laughs] True, but then again I wouldn't wear an 'Addidas' T-shirt or vote for *any* Conservative. Oh and over here if a candidate made it publically known that he or she was a Christian Conservative they'd hardly get any votes from anyone.

cl said: There are things one must believe to be intellectually fulfilled as an atheist, or a believer.

Intellectually fulfilled....? Such as? I feel pretty fulfilled intellectually. I don't know what percentage of that is because of my Atheism though... [muses]

cl said: Atheism entails naturalism, which is a positive truth claim.

I'd say that Atheism is a *part* of Naturalism as it is a part of skepticism.. It's not a belief system (though it is a disbelief in something), its not a worldview nor is it a philosophy - though it may be part of one.

One thing - when we talk about 'world views' what exactly are we debating here? What is a "world view"...?

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

cl, you clearly must not "lovingly" spit verses at atheists like some Christians do. ;-)

Let me clarify, I apologize for assuming.

Romans 1:19 "since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them."

Romans 1:21 "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened."

Most that I know take this as meaning we all know God exists from birth, thus no tabula rasa.

Whether that is the actual meaning of the verses doesn't really matter to those using them to condemn all non-Christians.

Fortunately, no one here seems to be doing that. :-)

cl said...

An afterthought for anyone to chew on: I was able to think of an instance where denial seems to entail a positive claim. Say I witness person X murder person Y. My denial that person Z murdered person Y is based upon a positive truth claim that person X actually committed the murder...

CyberKitten,

The difference you're trying to make is one I can accept, but I don't feel it refutes any of my points made thus far. Certain theists most definitely derive more from their theism than most atheists derive from their atheism. Still, conclusions entail positive truth claims.

Are you claiming your refusal to wear certain shirts doesn't proceed from your belief system? Why wouldn't you rock an Addidas tee?

I disagree that atheism is a part of skepticism. A skeptical mindset is not inherently theist or atheist. And as far as I can see, calling atheism a part of naturalism is synonymous with saying atheism entails naturalism.

One thing - when we talk about 'world views' what exactly are we debating here? What is a "world view"...?

Ask Karla and Anon. With the exception of a single response to you, I've avoided using the word entirely, specifically because of its ambiguity. I'm more interested in hearing Monolith (or anybody) successfully explain how atheism does not entail positive truth claims about what is.

Monolith,

I don't like people spitting verses at me, so why would I do it to others?

Most that I know take this as meaning we all know God exists from birth, thus no tabula rasa.

To me, what Romans 1:19 does not mean we are born with processed data already in our brains, but I simply do not know. Paul's talking about adults not infants for one, and I feel Paul is simply saying, "Any adult can look around and see the evidence that God is real." Of course, not all adults agree with this, and that's their deal.

Whether that is the actual meaning of the verses doesn't really matter to those using them to condemn all non-Christians.

Similarly, many atheists don't care what the actual meaning of a verse is, so long as they can use it to condemn the Bible or Christians. For example, I've heard the argument that Paul in Romans 1:27 says, "'the natural use of women' is as sex objects for men," and this exegesis was used to condemn the Bible. To me, Romans 1:20-27 is about homosexuality, and Romans 1:27 in particular translates as Paul's opinion that heterosexual relations are the "natural" relations - not that "'the natural use of women' is as sex objects for men."

What do you think Paul is saying in Romans 1:27?

Karla,

I'm curious to hear your opinion on Romans 1:27.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Are you claiming your refusal to wear certain shirts doesn't proceed from your belief system?

I wear various T-shirts for various reasons. Some of those I have are warmer than others. Some are not in any fit condition to wear.

I wouldn't wear various T-shirts for different reasons. For example I wouldn't wear shirts of various colours or shades that I don't like - which isn't really anything to do with any 'belief' system I might hold.

cl said: Why wouldn't you rock an Addidas tee?

Because I don't believe in giving companies free advertising.

cl said: I disagree that atheism is a part of skepticism. A skeptical mindset is not inherently theist or atheist.

An Atheist simply takes a skeptical position regarding the question of the existence of God. The thing that varies between atheists is the degree of skepticism. I would describe myself as very skeptical about God.

cl said: And as far as I can see, calling atheism a part of naturalism is synonymous with saying atheism entails naturalism.

OK. Naturalism implies Atheism. I can live with that.

cl said: I'm more interested in hearing Monolith (or anybody) successfully explain how atheism does not entail positive truth claims about what is.

I'm interested in why people are hung up on the idea.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"I don't like people spitting verses at me, so why would I do it to others?"

Well, that does make sense, I think someone stated a rule like that. Sadly, others don't live up to that. I did not think you were like that at all. All the theists here are very polite, which is one of the reasons I still read here.

To me Romans 1:27 is addressing men having sex with men instead of women. I don't see how it could be about objectifying women, certainly there are other verses that could be taken that way, but not that one.

The only twist I've heard on that verse is the liberal view that this verse was addressing heterosexual men straying from their heterosexuality and not homosexual men in committed, loving relationships. Either way I think it would be odd for God to care who was doing who as long as it was consensual.

Quixote said...

"It's already been well shown that the tenets of the omni-max god are not logically consistent."

If this were true, none of us would believe in an omnimax god. When coupled with this exchange from later in the comment:

["I'm good with this as well. But often, the interpretation of evidence is subjective. What makes sense to you may not make sense to me."

Then it's not a good example of evidence.]

It would follow logically from your standard that your evidence denying omnimax Gods is inadequate. Keep in mind it's you standard, not mine. I think reasonable folk can arrive at differing conclusions from the same evidence for a host of different reasons.

"Sorry, but that's not a necessary assertion from atheism - neither of them."

A proposition denying God's existence is not only a necessary assertion from positive atheism, it's its definition.

This whole next section just doesn't compute:

anon:[Whether it's universally held or not doesn't mean that it's logically necessary as a positive belief. IOW, that atheists tend to hold that life arose through purely natural processes does not mean that atheism entails this positive belief.

Quix:"At any rate, the claim is not that they're necessarily or logically entailed, but that practically they're inseparable."

anon: No, that's not what the claim has been.]

Someone else's claim perhaps? Mine was pretty clear, I think.

"Unless we really do have a god gene whereby people are born already believing in god, then atheism is the default state.

I don't see any reason to think this statement is true, though I can envision scenarios where it might be.

cl said...

CyberKitten,

I wouldn't wear various T-shirts for different reasons. For example I wouldn't wear shirts of various colours or shades that I don't like - which isn't really anything to do with any 'belief' system I might hold.

Well sure, aesthetic concerns are one thing, but, AHEM.....

cl: "Why wouldn't you rock an Addidas tee?"

CyberKitten: "Because I don't believe in giving companies free advertising."

Similarly, I'm betting you don't wear "Jesus is Lord" shirts because you don't believe Jesus is Lord.

An Atheist simply takes a skeptical position regarding the question of the existence of God. The thing that varies between atheists is the degree of skepticism. I would describe myself as very skeptical about God.

That's fine, and does not refute my statement that "A skeptical mindset is not inherently theist or atheist."

Monolith,

I don't see how (Romans 1:27) could be about objectifying women...

Yes, I agree.

Whether that is the actual meaning of the verses doesn't really matter to those using them to condemn all non-Christians. Fortunately, no one here seems to be doing that.

Ironically, that verse was cited by someone in this thread to condemn the Bible!

Quixote said...

cl said: "Unless I'm misunderstanding you, it most certainly does, and I addressed agnosticism specifically:"

No, I think you understood correctly, and you're right to redirect me. It's obvious I need to take a step back from this issue and think it through.

"To me, there is no reason to distinguish between physically and metaphysically NULL. Any "set" that begins with bias was not NULL."

Then there may not be (m)any metaphysically NULL sets, but again, I'll need to step back.

I'd like to write more in response, but I'm already late...more to come.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Ironically, that verse was cited by someone in this thread to condemn the Bible!"

I missed that. Now I have to go re-read all 61 comments.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Well, if they were condemning it based on that verse because they felt it discriminated against homosexuals then I could see their point. Of, course some liberal Christians don't read it that way.

cl said...

Monolith,

My apologies for being unclear - don't waste your time going through the thread. What I meant was, someone in this thread utilized the suspect strategy in question, on another thread.

Homosexual discrimination was not the context. They were condemning it based on that verse because they felt that verse was saying, "'the natural use of women" is as sex objects for men.'

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Ahh, thanks for the clarification.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Similarly, I'm betting you don't wear "Jesus is Lord" shirts because you don't believe Jesus is Lord.

Well... He's certainly not *my* Lord. Actually, my political beliefs don't recognise *anyone* as 'Lord'. I'm more of a "No Gods, No Masters" kind of person. Most of my T's are from places I've been on holiday, from concerts and of my favourite cartoon characters.

cl said: That's fine, and does not refute my statement that "A skeptical mindset is not inherently theist or atheist."

Personally I think that Theists are considerably less skeptical than Atheists (generally speaking). Of course Theists tend to skeptical of other religious beliefs. Whereas Atheists tend to be skeptical of all religious beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Mike,
The divergence into Romans 1:27 is cl's attempt to argue with me using you as a proxy. In the original context, it was not about denouncing the Bible, but rather showing Paul's misogyny (cl is not above misrepresenting arguments so as to try and tar the opponent, as I've documented numerous times on other websites). I stand by my comments and I'm not the only one who agrees that Paul was speaking of the use of women being sex. Never-the-less, it's just cl being petty and carrying out a threat he leveled towards me on my own blog (which caused me to delete comments for the first time, as his threats were innocuous, but were threats none-the-less and therefore crossed the line).

Karla,
cl is also well known for thread-jacking, which is clearly what he's done here. He's dragged in petty vendettas and arguments from other threads and other blogs in order to create turmoil on your blog. In short, he's using you and your blog to try to wage his little war against me. This is just one reason why he is banned or moderated on many blogs (others include threats - see above - spamming, etc.) He likes to think that it's because people can't handle his arguments, but a quick look at his insistence that atheists have to believe things, yet claiming that he doesn't know if Mike believes those (un-named) things or not, thus self-defeating his point, is enough to show that it's not out of fear or inability to rebut his points that he gets tossed.

I'm going to continue to observe my policy of not being dragged into argument with him, as I find him to be nothing more than seeking attention and trying to feed a martyr complex.

Anonymous said...

ck said:
"I'm interested in why people are hung up on the idea."

Besides accuracy in our thoughts/ideas/statements, there's really only one reason for this - to put the atheist into the role of assuming burden of proof.

Theists are unable to meet the burden of proof of proving god, so the natural tactic is to claim that they don't have to do so. Positive claims entail that the person making those claims holds that burden. If atheists are making positive claims, then they hold the burden of proving those claims. Hence, if 'not believing in god' is itself a positive claim, then one can claim that belief in god is sound unless the atheist can disprove god. It's rhetorical sophistry, plain and simple.

A quick look at the justice system should disabuse anyone of this notion, however. "I'm innocent," sounds like a positive claim, but we don't require people to prove such. Why? Because it's a denial of the state's claim that one has committed a crime. Yes, we can always find some way to reword a negative into a positive, but that doesn't automatically turn the actual claim into one requiring justification.

Anonymous said...

Quixote,
"If this were true, none of us would believe in an omnimax god."

That most people are unaware of the logical disproofs of god is rather daunting, but does not negate the fact that omni-max-ness is logically contradictory.

"It would follow logically from your standard that your evidence denying omnimax Gods is inadequate. Keep in mind it's you standard, not mine. I think reasonable folk can arrive at differing conclusions from the same evidence for a host of different reasons."

What you are talking about is the application of evidence, not interpretation. For example, we can drop objects and measure their velocities and accelerations. The numbers that result are not open to interpretation. This is evidence. Of what is it evidence? That's application of the evidence. Once we connect a causal and rational chain to an idea, then we can claim that the evidence measured is in favor of or against that idea.

"A proposition denying God's existence is not only a necessary assertion from positive atheism, it's its definition."

No, simply disbelief is the definition of atheism. It's not a proposition!

"Someone else's claim perhaps? Mine was pretty clear, I think."

If that's all your claim was, I fail to see the relevance or the reason for pointing it out. We aren't talking about what atheists believe outside of atheism, but what is necessarily entailed by atheism.

"I don't see any reason to think this statement is true, though I can envision scenarios where it might be."

How many newborns do you know that believe in god?

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Anonymous, I understand now, thanks. I think there are much better verses for demonstrating Paul's misogyny though.

Karla said...

Wow, you guys were busy since I was last on. I'm not sure where to jump in. This conversation has gone on different tangents outside of the worldview discussion. Can we maybe come back to that?

Cyber asked for a definition of worldview. I was going to ask for the same thing from you guys to see if we are on the same page. I see worldview as "the way a person views the world" And by "way" I mean everything from the presuppositional to the more ever day things. For some it starts broad and narrows and for other it starts at a point and broadens. We each have a way we look at the world and interpret the world.

To respond to Anonymous, regarding the diversity within Christianity. We are all striving to have our thinking line up with truth (what really is) but no one will perfectly get a handle on that this side of heaven. So there are many things where there is a diversity of opinion on areas that aren't clearly spelled out in Scripture or aren't even addressed in Scripture. Some Christians have very good reasons to be politically liberal and others have good reasons to be conservative and others have good reasons to be libertarians. Some have good reasons to put their kids in private school, some have good reasons for public school. Some have good reasons for predestination, and others lean more to a greater free will, some embrace evolution others don't. These are all non-essentials and on many of these things I don't think there is a cookie-cutter reality that God is decreeing for every individual. I think we can learn from all different streams in the Church and from streams outside the Church. There are essentials that make a great deal of difference in our relating in the real world with regard to God and His Son and the relationship with Him that we are designed to experience. But there are many other things that we just won't know for sure this side of heaven. And that's okay. The problem is when people take something they know in part or isn't clearly spelled out as the "right way" and make it a law or rule for everyone else.

Anon, I can't help but feel like you expect me or Christians in general to have an absolute codified structure of all things that is all binding and unified. While we do have the Bible there is certainly many things that are not spelled out and we don't know fully and many of us understand we can't limit truth to what we grasp as truth. There are some things that are foundational, but there are many that we don't fully know.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I see worldview as "the way a person views the world" And by "way" I mean everything from the presuppositional to the more ever day things. For some it starts broad and narrows and for other it starts at a point and broadens. We each have a way we look at the world and interpret the world.

Then my default 'worldview' is not Atheism but Naturalism - the view that all explanations are *natural* explanations... of course my total worldview is a bit more complicated than that... but its a pretty good place to start.

Anonymous said...

Mike,
I actually generated a list of them. That particular one was latched onto at the expense of all the others.

Anonymous said...

"To respond to Anonymous, regarding the diversity within Christianity.[snip]"

I don't see how predestination vs. free will would be outside of the purview of essential knowledge, but anyway....What you are saying isn't shocking or anything like that, except in so far as it seems to be a departure from some of your previous statements. If it is a departure, then this stance seems to be a bit more liberal, which I actually welcome, as it's a step in the right direction.

"Anon, I can't help but feel like you expect me or Christians in general to have an absolute codified structure of all things that is all binding and unified. While we do have the Bible there is certainly many things that are not spelled out and we don't know fully and many of us understand we can't limit truth to what we grasp as truth. There are some things that are foundational, but there are many that we don't fully know."

The other reason I was asking about this is because there are many Xians who would disagree with you on this score. They claim that the Bible is the only book you need and tells us what we need to know about everything. Disagreeing with them is apostasy in their eyes. Again, I prefer the more liberal approach (if I have to choose one or the other) although I find the more strict approach to actually be more logically consistent (to be honest about it).

Quixote said...

"That most people are unaware of the logical disproofs of god is rather daunting, but does not negate the fact that omni-max-ness is logically contradictory."

I'm aware of the disproofs and consider them woefully inadequate. Thus, by your standard--not mine--they're not evidence. I would actually consider them evidence, even though I might disagree with them.

"The numbers that result are not open to interpretation."

Sure, but measuring velocity or the temperature at which water boils is a far cry from other types of inquiry, and thus adds little comparative value to this discussion.

"No, simply disbelief is the definition of atheism. It's not a proposition!"

I'm fairly certain Dr. Martin disagrees with you here, with regard to positive atheism. But in all seriousness, You & cl have really befuddled my thinking on this whole question. I'm going to need to settle it out in my own mind, so for now, take everything I say with a grain of salt...like you needed that advice from me :)

"How many newborns do you know that believe in god?"

John the Baptist.

BTW, and seriously, you OK, man? I've noticed a more moderate tone from you lately. It's definitely better, if perhaps a little less exciting, but I wanted to just check in and make sure everything was OK with you...

Karla said...

Cyber, yes naturalism is a good example of a worldview. Of course within an over arching worldview there are subsets of thinking as we don't all think alike. I'm not trying to limit anyone to a certain philosophy.

Karla said...

Anon,

It's not so liberal a view. It is more rare for me to encounter someone who thinks it has to be "just so" then people who accept our "knowing in part" and thus not setting up anything non-essential as absolute.

As for those who say who hold that only the Bible is necessary for living life, I honestly haven't met anyone of that mentality or read any author who maintains that. And I read many authors of a variety of streams and denominations within Christianity. Most respect the various denominations and see all as valuable contributions to the whole. I'm not saying the ones you refer to don't exist, but they certainly aren't the majority.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

The denominational bigots can be seen posting more in discussion forums and commenting on atheist blogs. If you remember some of my early posts talked about people telling me I did Christianity wrong and that their version was the True™ version.

Karla said...

Mike, good point. I guess I have seen posters like that. I guess I just don't give them much mind. Sometimes, the loudest mouths aren't the majority. I feel sorry for those who feel they have to represent God in such a manner. I feel that it's them who have missed the heart of God and its them I hope to show God's love to just like anyone else. I can only hope I've shown you something different.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"I can only hope I've shown you something different."

Certainly you have, and that's why I'm still here. Your openness reminds me of how I was for the 2nd half of my 20 years as a Christian.

Karla said...

I appreciate you being here Mike. I hope one day you'll come to see it's Christ living in me that makes me who I am.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Karla, what makes all the loving, kind compassionate non-theists the way they are?

Anonymous said...

Quixote,
"I'm aware of the disproofs and consider them woefully inadequate. Thus, by your standard--not mine--they're not evidence."

Again, they are application of evidence, not interpretation. This is a key distinction. Proofs are not "evidence" in themselves, they are conclusions drawn on evidence.

And, the proofs I've seen in "The Impossibility of God" for instance are quite sound. (Some of them are a little bit of a stretch, but most of them are solid.)

"Sure, but measuring velocity or the temperature at which water boils is a far cry from other types of inquiry, and thus adds little comparative value to this discussion."

It delineates what is evidence from what is not. Finding a clay pot in the dirt is evidence. What you conclude from that is not.

"I'm fairly certain Dr. Martin disagrees with you here, with regard to positive atheism."

Atheism in itself (strong and weak) is disbelief in god. I'm sure Dr. Martin does not disagree with that.

"John the Baptist."

Evidence please. Besides, if there's only one example...

"BTW, and seriously, you OK, man? I've noticed a more moderate tone from you lately. It's definitely better, if perhaps a little less exciting, but I wanted to just check in and make sure everything was OK with you..."

Wow, if I didn't know you better, I'd think that was a back-handed comment. I'm just going nuts because I haven't been able to work out lately due to a cooking injury, so maybe that's it. Or maybe I'm mellowing with age or something. ;)

Karla said...

Mike, yes people can be kind without having relationship with God, but it comes from their strength I think. With God we can learn how to reflect Him in His strength instead of in our striving.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

So Christians can be kinder than non-Christians because of this?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: people can be kind without having relationship with God, but it comes from their strength I think.

Surely kindness comes from a compasionate upbringing rather than strength (do we have to be strong to be kind?). Also pity as well as empathy seems to be fairly widespread even amongst non-human animals....

Karla said...

I agree with Cyber that a person's upbringing or lifestyle can affect them positively or adversely. What is sown into a person is what is reaped. If a person is raised in a harsh environment they can often become angry, bitter, depressed, etc. When they are raised in accordance with kindness, compassion, forgiveness then they will reproduce that. Obviously we know that kindness, forgiveness, love and compassion are the ideals and that good things result from such a life. This is because these things are a taste of the goodness of God and the bitter things are things that distort our spirit and our soul and draw us into bitterness and anger and cold heartedness.

Christ heals these wounds that the world or parents or siblings or whathaveyou have inflicted upon people and He helps restore that brokenness to bring the person into freedom from these bondages. However, we often want to hold on to our unforgiveness and bitterness and we don't let Jesus heal these areas and that's when you have bitter Christians. Christians who know the truth but are still in bondage to their wounds and pains.

But when we give Jesus complete access to heal our inner selves and restore us to the fullness of life, love and kindness and compassion ought to flow in amazing levels from our being so it is almost like we are shining like stars.

In The Shack, Mack goes on that journey of healing and restoration of the wounds in his soul. Like Mack, we often blame God for our woes when it's us who don't really want to give up what we have grown accustom to for the greater. Somehow we think we have reason not to trust what God has for us is better than the muck we are in. But when we put our faith in Him, He is faithful to come along side us and help us gain that freedom and peace we so desire.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Obviously we know that kindness, forgiveness, love and compassion are the ideals and that good things result from such a life. This is because these things are a taste of the goodness of God...etc...etc...

So do you think that people who do not believe in God, do not act as if he exists and behave in a purely secular manner are incapable of kindness, forgiveness, love and compassion...? Although I agree with you that they are virtues I do not agree that they are either purely Christian or Theistic virtues.

Karla said...

Cyber that's not what I said at all. We are all made in God's image and we all have these characteristics in us. Some have them hidden more than others due to a variety of circumstances, but Jesus can restore them to their proper place in our lives. You don't have to be a Christian to be kind and loving. But Jesus can still bring out the best treasures in each of us.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"...Jesus can still bring out the best treasures in each of us."

So logically, Christians must be the kindest and most loving.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: We are all made in God's image and we all have these characteristics in us.

...and I obviously disagree - at least about the 'God's image' assertion anyway....

mike said: So logically, Christians must be the kindest and most loving.

I think that the important word that karla used was "can". It obviously doesn't follow that the Christians *are* the best of us - just that they *can* be.... [laughs]

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Then let me rephrase, logically Christians have more potential to be kind and loving than non-Christians.

Karla said...

Yes, if they have surrendered that area of their life to his restoring power. Not all have. And many are in process. And many are still trapped in their old self for whatever reason. That's something that is on my heart big time to help people who are trapped in bondage, Christians and non-Christians to find freedom and restoration in Christ.

Anonymous said...

Special pleading.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: That's something that is on my heart big time to help people who are trapped in bondage, Christians and non-Christians to find freedom and restoration in Christ.

"Bondage"....? Not my 'thing' really.....

Personally I regard myself as reasonably free... not a chain to be seen.

Anonymous said...

ck:
Have you tried "bondage?"

If done right, it can be pretty fun.

CyberKitten said...

Oh I'm nowhere near *that* trusting!

[rotflmao]

Karla said...

Yes, we think we are free until we taste freedom and then we see we weren't. Do you not do things that you don't want to do?

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Do you not do things that you don't want to do?"

Do you mean bad habits? Otherwise, why would I do something I don't want to do?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: we think we are free until we taste freedom and then we see we weren't.

Oh... I think I'm pretty free. More free than most I think....

karla said: Do you not do things that you don't want to do?

A few things yes.... But they normally help pay the mortgage.

No one is *totally* free. Nor should they be. But I am forced to do very little in life. As far as such things go I am the master (or at least the XO) of my fate.

Karla said...

Mike, addictions, habits, anything that you by your own estimation feel is something you "ought" not to do? Not asking for a list here, it's a rhetorical question. But if there are things that you do that you don't want to do (and I'm not talking about working a job, Cyber) but thinks like being quick tempered with a loved one, or whathaveyou. Then there is something keeping you from being free to do what you think is right.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Then there is something keeping you from being free to do what you think is right.

...and we have the capacity to overcome those things because we are self-aware and have free will. It's like giving up smoking. Many people do this - no God is required to make it so, just the *Will* do do it. In many ways we are as free as we want to be. The choice is ours.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

CK gave the same response I was going to. :-)

cl said...

Threats? As in bodily harm? Spamming? As in unwanted ads? Really?

I know nobody cares, but for the record, I've never threatened any blogger or spammed any blog. That's a false statement coming from somebody with strong emotional and personal motivations, which are fairly self-evident. I can only hope each person here will make up their own mind about me, independent of influence from others. Cyber, Monolith, Karla, Quixote... I think highly of each of you as debaters, and I treat your arguments with respect.

Karla said...

Cyber, I don't see a humanity that is overcoming our nature to do things we don't see as right.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Cyber, I don't see a humanity that is overcoming our nature to do things we don't see as right.

Neither do I. But on a *personal* level it's certainly possible to do so. That's what we're talking about aren't we? Personal freedom?

Anonymous said...

karla said: "Then there is something keeping you from being free to do what you think is right."

ck said: "...and we have the capacity to overcome those things because we are self-aware and have free will. It's like giving up smoking. Many people do this - no God is required to make it so, just the *Will* do do it. In many ways we are as free as we want to be. The choice is ours."

Ironically, if the Xian tenet of an omni-max god is true, then we have no free will with which to overcome anything.

That said, it's a little more complicated than saying that we can choose to overcome things like addictions, etc. Some people are more wired to have addictive personalities than others. One person may take a hit of crack and walk away never to do it again, or want to, while another might take a hit and be hooked from the start.

cl said...

"cl is also well known for thread-jacking, which is clearly what he's done here. He's dragged in petty vendettas and arguments from other threads and other blogs in order to create turmoil on your blog."

Please. I'm sick of the party-lines thing, and I wanted confirmation that Romans 1:27 has nothing to do with Paul arguing the natural use of women is as sex objects for men, and everything to do with homosexuality. When Karla makes a mistake, you're all over her, and I think people should be held accountable for the claims they make when it comes to biblical exegesis.

In order to avoid you getting all mad, I purposely kept your name and all pertinent links completely out of the conversation I was having with Mike. I don't think Mike even suspected it was you, until you said something. And, this relates directly to part of what we're talking about in the thread, which is how to go about reading the Bible.

"I'm going to continue to observe my policy of not being dragged into argument with him, as I find him to be nothing more than seeking attention and trying to feed a martyr complex."

Take a deep breath, it's not that. I just want you to admit you were wrong about that particular verse, but I'm not holding my breath. The polemical thing is getting old, no? We'll never get anywhere if we can't start somewhere.