Monday, March 8, 2010

Hearing God

Many people ask how does one hear God? How does He speak? To whom does He speak?


There are a variety of ways that God speaks to us that is often all expressed as “hearing God.” Almost always when one says he has “heard” God, he does not mean that he has audibly heard God speak. He means that God communicated to him in some fashion and he has received that communication to the point where he can articulate what was communicated by God.


A few of the many ways people commonly “hear” God is as follows.


Dreams: A person has a dream that they perceive to be a communication from God about something. It may be vague or specific. My husband had a very specific dream about starting the church we have started years before it was started.



Visions: This can be a daydream of sorts, or an actual seeing something play out before you as if you were truly watching it happen.



Pictures: This is when you see something in your minds eye. If you were to close your eyes and picture an Elephant—it would be like this sort of communication. Where you are thinking about someone or praying for someone and suddenly a picture of something comes to mind out of nowhere. Maybe you see this person crying and you call them up to see if they are okay and you find them troubled and yet very encouraged by your unexpected call.



Feelings/Impressions: This is when you think of someone or something and an unexpected feeling or impression about the person or place or event rises up within you. God might be trying to give you insight on whatever it may be. Ask him for more revelation of what He is showing you.



Words/Thoughts: This is when a thought comes into your mind that shouts out “louder” than the other thoughts and seems to demand attention. Sometimes it is more subtle, but is not knowledge you could have had otherwise. You might suddenly know a stranger’s name or where the person works or what their hobby or passion is. It is some kind of knowledge you could not of known other than by a supernatural mean.



Bible: God speaks through the Scriptures. He can bring a verse to mind for yourself or for another. He can illuminate a passage or a verse while you are reading the Bible and it can speak right to your heart. It is like the words come alive and penetrate you with clarity of meaning.



Manifestations: Sometimes people feel something physically in their body when God is speaking to them about something. They might suddenly feel a shoulder pain that was not previously there and ask if anyone has such a pain. If someone does, pray for them, God may be making you aware of it to bring them healing. I have had this sort of thing happen from time to time.


Audible Voice of God: Very rarely does anyone give testimony of having actually heard the audible voice of God. Those who do give testimony of this speak of an incredible experience of great magnitude. Most speak of it as physically unbearable because of the majestic power of His voice. That it just rocks you so completely you are unsure if you want to hear Him again that way. I have never had such an experience.


These are not the only ways God communicates to people, but other than the audible voice, they are common ways people receive from God. Typically, no matter which way the person “heard” God; they will call it “hearing from God.”


We are fallible and we will make mistakes. The Bible says that each person is responsible to take what is thought to be from God and check it out for ourselves to see if it lines up with His truth. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pastor or prophet telling you they heard God say such and such about you – it is your responsibility to take that and ask God about it yourself and not just take someone else’s word about it. When the Spirit of Truth inhabits you, He leads you in all truth personally and we do not need to depend on another person as a mediator for what God is saying.


We can encourage, comfort, and exhort one another by sharing what God is saying, but each person needs to take that before the Lord and see if they should accept it as true.


God is speaking. It takes time to learn how to hear Him and to learn what is Him and what are our own thoughts or what is some other spiritual force at work. Jesus said the sheep know the voice of the Sheppard. As you get to know the Lord more and more the better you will recognize Him speaking. He wants to reveal Himself to us in greater and greater measure the deeper we go into Him the greater we see how infinitely deep one can go. We can have as much of God as we want to, His door is always open.


75 comments:

CyberKitten said...

I think that its hardly surprising that if you think about a problem you're having that you dream about it or that solutions just 'pop' into your head. That's just the brain/mind doing its 'thing'. Afterall its been 'designed' as a problem solving machine by millions of years of evolution.

However, if I heard voices in my head that were clearly not my own I'd seek medical attention immediately!

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

CK, you are correct. When I was a Christian I prayed on matters that were of concern to me, eventually an answer would come forth. The same thing happens today by just thinking about something and working through it.

Below I indicate which of the listed ways I experienced God.

Dreams - Check

Visions - Check

Pictures - Check

Feelings/Impressions - Huge Check

Words/Thoughts - Another Huge Check

Bible - Giant Check

Manifestations - Nope

Audible Voice of God - Never

Karla said...

Mike, how do you know that God isn't still the one giving you the answers you seek? I think you were hearing Him and you still are.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Mike, how do you know that God isn't still the one giving you the answers you seek?

Or it could be fairies or goblins... or slime creatures from the planet Zog or our future selves.... Why not just jump to the simplest (and honestly most likely) conclusion - and say that it is ourselves talking to ourselves?

The reason that you *know* it's God is because that's your *belief* - nothing more.

boomSLANG said...

"The reason that you *know* it's God is because that's your *belief* - nothing more."

; )

Karla said...

How can you be so sure it's just "belief" and not really knowing?

boomSLANG said...

"How can you be so sure it's just 'belief' and not really knowing?"

Perhaps a fellow Atheist guest wants to get caught up in the vicious cycle that takes place here. In other words, we've been over, and over, and over, ad nauseam, this ground before - meaning, you've gotten our answers to this question, previously - but yet, here is the same question again.

So, at the risk of wasting more time, here is my answer(again):

I do not/cannot "know", with absolute certainty(key), that your "spiritual" beliefs are not rooted in reality. Why? Because said beliefs are not falsifiable. It's worth repeating: NOT falsifiable. Then again, the onus is not on me(the nonbeliever) to disprove your fantastic claims.

Note(again) that I am not saying that invisible, noncorporeal, conscious beings are disproven. But yes, I am saying that said beings are unproven, and thus, while I cannot be absolutely sure that your belief dead-ends at "I believe", until you can proffer some objective confirmation that your beliefs/claims have a referent in reality, I believe it is much, much more probable that your beliefs have no referent in reality, hence, why I believe your claims dead-end at "I believe", hence, why I am of the position that you don't "know" what you claim to "know".

Karla said...

Boom Slang "The reason that you *know* it's God is because that's your *belief* - nothing more."

Karla “How can you be so sure it's just "belief" and not really knowing?”

Boom Slang “I do not/cannot "know", with absolute certainty(key), that your "spiritual" beliefs are not rooted in reality.”

Boom Slang “hence, why I believe your claims dead-end at "I believe",”

Then why not just say “I believe the reason you know its God is because it’s your belief.”

I am making the claim of knowing not just believing that God speaks and that we can hear Him, and that He has spoken to me in some of the ways I delineated.

Your response gave the illusion that you know the only reason I say what I do is simply because I have belief that it is true, rather than my claim having any basis of reality. I was questioning the confidence of your response. I now see it is qualified that you “believe” my claim is based on unsubstantiated belief rather than it being grounded in reality.

What would, in your opinion, constitute evidence of my claims made in this post?

Mike and Cyber or anyone else can answer that question as well.

boomSLANG said...

Karla: "BoomSlang: The reason that you *know* it's God is because that's your *belief* - nothing more."

Not to knit-pick, yet, others counsel us to quote the other as concisely as possible, so...

Above, you are quoting Cyberkitten; not me. I merely gave my approval of the comment with a cyber-wink..e.g ; )

Again, I don't disagree with Cyberkitten's words, yet, they are his words; not mine.

"Then why not just say 'I believe the reason you know its God is because it’s your belief'." ~ Karla

Why? Because it would be silly for me to say that since I don't believe that you "know its God". I thought I made that clear. I concede that you have a "reason" for *thinking* that you "know its God".

"I am making the claim of knowing not just believing that God speaks and that we can hear Him, and that He has spoken to me in some of the ways I delineated." ~ Karla

Right, it's a rewording of the same claim you've been making all along. Nothing new; the same claim with the same lack of objective confirmation for said claim, hence, why you get the same skepticism from me(and others)

"Your response gave the illusion that you know the only reason I say what I do is simply because I have belief that it is true, rather than my claim having any basis of reality. I was questioning the confidence of your response. I now see it is qualified that you 'believe' my claim is based on unsubstantiated belief rather than it being grounded in reality." ~ Karla

How very odd. Okay, somehow I guess you think that you've made some sort of distinction. To be clear---(again)I concede that you have a "reason" for making the claims you make. At a fundamental level, I would surmize that you make said claims because you believe said claims are true. In which case, I reiterate: I fully concede that you BELIEVE that what you are experiencing is real; I BELIEVE that you believe that "God speaks". I don't, however, believe that your beliefs are grounded in reality.

"What would, in your opinion, constitute evidence of my claims made in this post?" ~ Karla

To me, it would be very compelling if there was harmony amongst all the people who go around repeating what they claim that this alleged "God" communicates to them. But of course, there isn't any such harmony. And again, since it's an unfalsifiable claim to be "speaking" daily/weekly with an invisible, conscious being, it boils down to one believer's word vs another's.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I am making the claim of knowing not just believing that God speaks and that we can hear Him, and that He has spoken to me in some of the ways I delineated.

The problem is that I can have those very same experiences and see it simply as my brain/mind behaving as expected. Other cultures may see it as messages from their dead ancestors giving them sagely advice. Other cultures neither of us are aware of might have different ideas on the subect. How would you differentiate between the above - apart from stating that you have knowledge where everyone else is mistaken or in denial? You have a belief - and I don't have a problem with that - I have a belief and other cultures have their beliefs too. You may be certain of your belief but that's a belief too - unless you can show some evidence to support it.

karla said: What would, in your opinion, constitute evidence of my claims made in this post?

Good question - something more than a statement of belief or assertion would be good. What that evidence would need to be (apart from pretty amazing) I have no idea. What you're asking for in effect is what evidence we would need to believe in God. I can only answer: *Much* more that I've been presented with in the last 50 years!

Oh, and I've just posted some random thoughts on Atheism if you want to pop over and add a comment...

Karla said...

Boom, Yes I know that quotation first came from Cyber, and my question was to anyone who would respond, since you responded I attributed it to you alone, but I should have put it as both of you.

Regarding harmony, I can see how that would help and how the different claims even amongst those in the same religion, denomination, or church can cause doubt that anyone is hearing God at all.

However, how about the instances where someone knows something they had no natural way of knowing about a person they never met and they are completely right. I have experienced this many times, very precisely, and I am not talking about a Sherlock Holmes reading of a person. When I say experienced, I mean someone who did not know me has told me things about myself that they could not of known otherwise and were very accurate. This has happened on numerous occasions.

To Boom & Cyber, et al:

Does this sort of thing have any value as evidence? Maybe not that it was the God I say was speaking, but at least of something supernatural occurring?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Does this sort of thing have any value as evidence? Maybe not that it was the God I say was speaking, but at least of something supernatural occurring?

Not with just the information you've given. Stage magicians have been using various techniques for centuries to seem to know things they couldn't possibly know. For it to stand up to any kind of scrutiny we'd have to know what technique they used to gain the information and then they'd have to replicate it - lots!

Karla said...

Cyber “Not with just the information you've given. Stage magicians have been using various techniques for centuries to seem to know things they couldn't possibly know. For it to stand up to any kind of scrutiny we'd have to know what technique they used to gain the information and then they'd have to replicate it - lots!”

The thing is there isn’t a technique. I listed the ways people commonly profess to have received communication from God. In some circles we call this prophecy. And when one repeats what God said about someone to them it’s called prophesying. I’ve sat through many a sermon, class, teaching, on this practice as well as having read many books and having been personally prophesied over. In none of these have I ever once been taught how to read a person, how to do magic, how to trick a person, how to deceive, how to create a convincing prophesy. Not once.

My husband and I were sharing breakfast with a girl at a conference we had just been introduced to the night before. As we are eating and talking about the conference, she leans forward and starts to tell us about ourselves. She described accurately some of the prayers I had been praying just recently and the feelings I was having about a matter. It was just natural in conversation, but she was tuning into knowledge from God and sharing it with me. It was very encouraging, it wasn’t freaky, or weird, just natural like two friends talking.

Another time I was at a different event and during the worship a young lady approached me and told me that God said I am a writer. I had never met this girl previously, we didn’t have mutual friends. She had no natural way of knowing that. And that’s not the first time someone had said I was a writer who did not know me. There are all kinds of examples I could tell of things like that happening.

I can assure you I have never ever been taught how to do anything close to magic or deception. I have been in a lot of classes by a lot of different ministries on the subject. And by classes, I mean informative and practical meetings where people can learn how to hear God and practice speaking what we hear Him saying. It’s that simple.

boomSLANG said...

"To Boom & Cyber, et al:

Does this sort of thing have any value as evidence? Maybe not that it was the God I say was speaking, but at least of something supernatural occurring?"
~ Karla

Evidence for the "supernatural"? It would be very compelling, provided the "seer" could repeat his or her special "powers" and have repeatedly successful results. Otherwise, I am inclined to believe that it is much, much more probable that the "seer" has inside information, or is able to do "cold readings", or is just plain lucky(or a combination of all of the above)

Evidence for "God"? No. See above.

Moreover, there's an even bigger problem: If "God" can convey information to other human beings - for instance, absolute knowledge of the future - then this creates the very same philosophical conundrum that I've spelled out(in great detail) in past discussions about "Prophecy".

For a quick recap, if "God" knows the future set of events per its "omniscience", then the future is fixed/immovable, in which case, our "free will" is an illusion at best; a lie at worst. Ironically, this also sets limits on said "omniscient" being's own powers. "God" can't both know all of its future decisions/actions while also retaining the freedom to alter those decisions/actions. Basic logic says no(the same logic that Xians insist "God" created)

"I can assure you I have never ever been taught how to do anything close to magic or deception. I have been in a lot of classes by a lot of different ministries on the subject. And by classes, I mean informative and practical meetings where people can learn how to hear God and practice speaking what we hear Him saying. It’s that simple." ~ Karla

Yes, it's "that simple" if you're already convinced.

Karla said...

Boom “Evidence for the "supernatural"? It would be very compelling, provided the "seer" could repeat his or her special "powers" and have repeatedly successful results.”

There are people within Christianity that one could call a seer or a prophet who receives at a very high level compared to most people. These people teach the rest of the church how to hear God for themselves.

Boom “Otherwise, I am inclined to believe that it is much, much more probable that the "seer" has inside information, or is able to do "cold readings", or is just plain lucky(or a combination of all of the above)”

I’m sure there are some such people out there doing that. But what I am saying is that I have never been taught any deceptive methods to make people think I hear from God, nor have I been taught how to read anyone. I have heard lots and lots and lots of teachings on the subject my many different ministers and ministries and non-ministers.



Boom “Moreover, there's an even bigger problem: If "God" can convey information to other human beings - for instance, absolute knowledge of the future - then this creates the very same philosophical conundrum that I've spelled out(in great detail) in past discussions about "Prophecy".”

Did you see the comment from Ryft on this in the previous discussion?

Karla said...

Ryft had said "BoomSlang confidently asserts that God's attributes of omnipotence and omniscience contradict one another, such that God can be one or the other but it is logically impossible for God to be both. The reason for this, he tells us, is that either (a) God knows absolutely his future and therefore cannot change it, or (b) God can change his future and therefore cannot know it absolutely. What BoomSlang doesn't realize is that his argument is utterly defeated with one simple word: "omnipresence."

Omnipresence is, of course, another of God's attributes (i.e., his attributes are not exhausted by omnipotence and omniscience) and it refers to the necessarily transcendent nature of his being, by definition of him being the Creator of our universe. From the equations and models of our best scientists, we are informed that the three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension comprise a single manifold; that is, we know from meticulous observation that these four dimensions comprise an inseparable whole, a space-time manifold. Consequently, with God defined as the Creator thereof, it follows by sheer force of logic that he transcends (exists independent of) our space-time manifold. (It cannot be otherwise, because for a creator to be identified with his creation is a logical contradiction: he would have to pre-exist himself in order to create himself.)

Ergo, since God exists independent of this space-time manifold he created, his nature does not share in the spatio-temporal experience that our nature does; in other words, God does not experience time the way that we do, as a linear sequence of events. From his transcendent vantage point, he exists in an eternal 'now', taking in the entire scope and history of the universe comprehensively and at once. This is, after all, substantively why God is said to be omniscient, trustworthy in his prophecies and sovereign power. In the words of Aiden Tozer, "In God there is no was or will be, but a continuous and unbroken is. In him, history and prophecy are one and the same" (from that same work you recently cited). And Charles Spurgeon, "With God there is no past, and can be no future ... What we call past, present, and future, he wraps up in one eternal now." "

boomSLANG said...

"There are people within Christianity that one could call a seer or a prophet who receives at a very high level compared to most people." ~ Karla

At a "very high level"? You mean, not a perfect success-rate? If that's what you mean, then what do you attribute this margine of error to? To me, I would expect a "Perfect" being to communicate "perfect" information, perfectly. Thus, this only leaves the "seer" to be the one who is responsible for error, and thus, for all I know, he or she is, again, getting lucky, or has inside info', or is really good at "cold-reading"(or a combination of all of the above). Nonetheless, not convincing to me.

"I’m sure there are some such people out there doing that. But what I am saying is that I have never been taught any deceptive methods to make people think I hear from God, nor have I been taught how to read anyone." ~ Karla

That's fine, but that is immaterial to the fact that you, yourself, could be being deceived by those who *do* practice and become very good at the techniques that convince people that they are "Prophets" and "seers", a la, Sylvia Browne.

"Did you see the comment from Ryft on this in the previous discussion?" ~ Karla

No, as I said, I took a breather from this blog. Can you encapsulate this person's argument here? Or do I need to go digging for it so that I can discuss his or her position with you? Nevermind, I see it now.

Karla said...

Boom “At a "very high level"? You mean, not a perfect success-rate? If that's what you mean, then what do you attribute this margine of error to?”

People don’t always hear God correctly. We get it wrong sometimes. We interpret wrong sometimes. Even those who are considered “seers” or “prophets” make mistakes. The person who has been told by another that God said such and such also has a responsibility to take the “such and such” before the Lord and to measure it against Scripture to see if it stands up as true. I don’t think anyone should take anything anyone says God says and just accept it right off. It is to be weighed and judged to see if it lines up with what is true.

I think physics are also receiving supernatural knowledge, but from a dark source rather than from God. Some of them I think may also hear God, I wouldn’t rule that out. I don’t think a person has to be a Christian to hear God.

BTW, breathers are good. I needed one too.

Karla said...

*I meant "Psychics" not "physics"

boomSLANG said...

"What BoomSlang doesn't realize is that his argument is utterly defeated with one simple word: 'omnipresence'."

Omnipresent: Present in all places at all times.

(ref: Merriam-Webster)

"God" either does not exist, or "God" does exist.

If the latter, then "God" exists at all places at all times, if "God" is "omnipresent". Just because "God" is defined (by Theists) as "creator" of this "space-time manifold", this does not mean that said "God" can exist "independent" of it, because if we adhere to the definiton(above), then "God" exists > in < all places at all times, in which case, "God" exists *in* this "space-time manifold"(at "all times"). Thus, "God" doesn't get the luxery of removing itself from "space-time" in order to, for lack of a better word, "scrub" its knowledge of the future when it presumably traverses back in time(or outside of time)

The various appeals to authority..e.g... "Aiden Tozer" and "Charles Spurgeon", are irrelevant to the scope of the definition of the provided definition "omnipresent". In fact, the "one word" utterly underscores the impossibility of simultanious "omniscience" and "omnipotence".

"People don’t always hear God correctly. We get it wrong sometimes. We interpret wrong sometimes." ~ Karla

Thank you.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: I think physics are also receiving supernatural knowledge, but from a dark source rather than from God.

Would that be Dark Matter or Dark Energy [grin]

*Classic* typo!

cl said...

It's no wonder these types of discussions are typically fruitless. The atheist demands that God jump through hoops for them, yet the Bible instructs us not to put God to the test. In such a scenario the burden of proof can never be met.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: The atheist demands that God jump through hoops for them, yet the Bible instructs us not to put God to the test.

Which is probably why one of the (many) authors of the Bible put it in there. In the (vain) hope that everyone would just accept His existence on pure faith. Well, I'm afraid I stopped simply taking people's word for things - especially *big* things - before I reached pubity.

cl said: In such a scenario the burden of proof can never be met.

Then I will never believe - QED.

cl said...

Which is probably why one of the (many) authors of the Bible put it in there. (CK)

Now why is it that you demand "repeatable" evidence from Karla regarding her claims, yet, you yourself take the liberty to rest on mere opinion and assertion supported by nothing other than the word 'probably'? Honestly, don't you see that as a horrendous double-standard?

I do.

In the (vain) hope that everyone would just accept His existence on pure faith. (CK)

Can you at least connect your assertion to some kind of evidence or reasoning? For example, I disagree with you, because the writer(s) had nothing to gain, and further, their efforts actually resulted in great privations.

Then I will never believe (CK)

Oh, you can rest assured of one thing: if the God of the Bible is true, you will believe. The day will likely come too late, but it will come.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Honestly, don't you see that as a horrendous double-standard?

No. Because I was offering an opinion. Karla was stating her belief as if it were fact.

cl said: Can you at least connect your assertion to some kind of evidence or reasoning?

Not without doing research, no.

cl said: Oh, you can rest assured of one thing: if the God of the Bible is true, you will believe.

Well, surely @ that point I'll simply *know* so won't need to 'believe'?

cl said: The day will likely come too late, but it will come.

Hell & damnation, right? [shakes head saddly] I just love a belief system based on threats..... [laughs] I've never actually responded very well to such things.......

boomSLANG said...

"It's no wonder these types of discussions are typically fruitless. The atheist demands that God jump through hoops for them.." ~ cl

I suppose the term "the Atheist" is a bit ambiguous..i.e..it could mean a certain "Atheist" in this discussion, or, perhaps it could mean "Atheists", in general. I dare not make any assumptions.

Speaking for myself, as an Atheist, I don't "demand" that Yahweh, or Allah, or Mithra, or whichever deity is the one True "God", do jack'. I merely say, if it is this being's "Will" that I believe in, love, and worship him/her/it, then I need a first-hand encounter, as listening to Theists speak on the behalf of their respective gods is not good enough, especially in light of Karla's recent disclosure that people who claim to "speak to God"(specifically, hear "God") can be mistaken.

"...yet the Bible instructs us not to put God to the test." ~ cl

Then by all means, don't, and I won't either. If the Xian biblegod exists and it would rather see millions of its creation go to "hell" than be "tested", then fine, that's the way it's got to be. In fact, if the Xian biblegod is a "bad-ass", that would even make more sense, since most bad-asses have enormous egos. Notwithstanding, such a "God" is one that I would denounce, even if it existed.

"Oh, you can rest assured of one thing: if the God of the Bible is true, you will believe."

Fair enough. So, at that precise moment, what exactly will that prove, other than I didn't have enough "faith"???(which an "omniscient" deity would know from the onset)

What's interesting to me, is this:

If, presumably, I "will believe" when I'm finally face-to-face with "God" at the proverbial pearly gates, then it would follow that I will believe if this "God" appeared to me face-to-face right now. Yet, even if I was throughly convinced that this "God" exists, I still have the free will with which I can reject its "morality"; reject its "love"; reject its, I'm a bad-ass, so you should respect me!, attitude. Right? Or am I a robot at that point?

"The day will likely come too late, but it will come." ~ cl

Aside from being an unproven assertion, my question is this: Is being scared to not believe a proposition a good reason to believe said proposition? Putting cl's "bad-ass" conception of biblegod aside, and using Karla's "Perfect", "all-loving being" conception---wouldn't biblegod prefer people to genuinely want to be with him/her/it, as opposed to being scared not to? Is threatening people with bodily harm generally a good tactic? Xians?

boomSLANG said...

"Hell & damnation, right? [shakes head saddly]" ~ Cyberkitten

'Depends on which "Christian" you are adressing. From what I understand, Karla and cl hold dissenting views on "hell". One holds that "Hell" is hardly mentioned in the bible; the other holds that "Jesus" talks about the subject extensively.

Karla said...

Cl, I don't know if an atheist can put God to the test. I think someone would need to believe in God in order to put him to the test.

I also think Boom saying He would need to encounter God to believe, is the way it should be. Belief was never to be an intellectual thing, but rather a experience thing: our being connecting with His Being.

Karla said...

Boom, as to people making mistakes about what God is saying, I don't see how that affirms your position? People are fallible, we can see a picture of something God is showing us and interpret what He is saying incorrectly. Time can pass and we figure it out later. It's all about leaning on Him for not only what He is saying, but what it means and how we can apply it.

cl said...

..I don't know if an atheist can put God to the test. I think someone would need to believe in God in order to put him to the test. (Karla)

It's an interesting question, but ultimately epistemological and not relevant here. In the context of scientific validation of an hypothesis - which is the context the majority of the 'prove God' group argues from - belief in the truth of the proposition is irrelevant to the outcome of the results. Meaning, whether one believes in gravity or not, we can demonstrate its effect. Also, I'm sure you would agree that God can persuade an atheist.

I also think Boom saying He would need to encounter God to believe, is the way it should be. (Karla)

I agree, which is why I find the demands for repeatable tests and harmony amongst believers to be less than optimum criteria for declaring one's beliefs as true.

boomSLANG said...

"Boom, as to people making mistakes about what God is saying, I don't see how that affirms your position?" ~ Karla

If you mean, my "position" regarding theists claiming to know what "God" is telling them, which is the position that we can't be certain that any theist(including you) knows what "God" is telling them, it should be self-evident how it "affirms" that position. If you mean, my "position" that I don't harbor a belief in "God"/gods, why would I need to "affirm" such a thing?

cl said...

Hell & damnation, right? [shakes head saddly] I just love a belief system based on threats..... (CyberKitten)

It's interesting to me that that's what you took from my words. I often wonder why atheists focus on what they perceive to be the Bible's threats, rather than the Bible's clear promises.

I suppose the term "the Atheist" is a bit ambiguous..i.e..it could mean a certain "Atheist" in this discussion, or, perhaps it could mean "Atheists", in general. (boomSLANG)

When I want to address a certain atheist, I'll address that certain atheist. Anything "could" really mean anything when you get down to it, but without reason to assume otherwise, why not just stick to what the words permit? We'll probably be better off for it.

Speaking for myself, as an Atheist, I don't "demand" that Yahweh, or Allah, or Mithra, or whichever deity is the one True "God", do jack'. (boomSLANG)

Then lets clear this up right here and now: when, in the context of evidence for the supernatural, (as distinct from God) you say,

It would be very compelling, provided the "seer" could repeat his or her special "powers" and have repeatedly successful results. (boomSLANG)

Wouldn't you agree that such is asking the "seer" to jump through hoops for you? IOW, you won't be satisfied with just one or two accurate manifestations of power, but you demand "repeatably successful results" right there in your own words.

I hear you say you want to experience God. Do you extend these same criteria towards God, or not? If yes, then it appears you do want God to jump through at least some set of evidentiary hoops for you. If not, what type of isolated occurrence would suffice, and why are your criteria more stringent for the seer?

So, at that precise moment, what exactly will that prove, (boomSLANG)

Well, among other things, it will prove that what's real is real regardless of whether we can test it or not, and that we must be held accountable to the Creator whether we believe the Creator exists or not, just as we are all subject to the law of gravity.

I dare not make any assumptions. (boomSLANG)

then,

One holds that "Hell" is hardly mentioned in the bible; the other holds that "Jesus" talks about the subject extensively. (boomSLANG)

It appears you've assumed something errant about my position on hell. I'm sure both Karla and I agree that Jesus talks about the subject extensively, and nowhere on this blog or elsewhere have I ever argued otherwise. Where Karla and myself differ is that she accepts the "eternal torture" version of hell, whereas I do not. I currently believe those who reject God's provision will experience the ramifications of their sin in a measure exactly commensurate to the sin itself, then get put to sleep eternally.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: It's interesting to me that that's what you took from my words.

Well, that was the implication I came away with - if I was wrong please feel free to be more explicit.

Karla said...

Boom what I meant was just because seers or people in general mishear or misunderstand or misinterpret God sometimes, doesn't mean that He isn't speaking and that we don't hear right at other times. I misunderstand, misinterpret and mishear my husband sometimes, but I am hearing other things correctly. And when I do not hear correctly, I am still hearing.

Karla said...

Cyber I am not advocating that we accept God's existence on a leap of faith, but on grounded experience.

My aim is only to clear up some of the misconceptions out there about Jesus/Christianity and help with philosophical questions. I do not for a minute think I can or should persuade one to believe Jesus through the method of a good argument. Some apologist do try to do that. But most of those who try that have the few that intellectual adherence or acceptance of a proper doctrine saves a person and gives them eternal life. In contrast, it is not the doctrine, but encounter with the Person Christ Jesus that gives such life and that is something I can't make happen for any of you.

Karla said...

Cl, did you see my post The Importance of Man? I wrote it in response to something you had said in a comment a while ago to give you more of an idea of where I am coming from on that. I am interested in your thoughts on my perspective on that.

boomSLANG said...

"Anything "could" really mean anything when you get down to it.." ~ cl

Well, sure. Perhaps when you say, "the atheist[yada, yada, yada]", you *could* have really meant to say, "the theist", and on the extremely off-chance, perhaps the "yada, yada, yada" that was supposed to coincide with "the theist" *could* have coincided with atheism. I think the odds of that are quite low, though. Nonetheless, I'll take your counsel to heart.

Previously, me: "It would be very compelling, provided the 'seer' could repeat his or her special 'powers' and have repeatedly successful results."

cl responds: "Wouldn't you agree that such is asking the 'seer' to jump through hoops for you?"

Heavens, no. As if claiming to know the future based on having conversations with the creator of the universe is no more out of the ordinary than claiming to be able to...gee, I don't know, speak five languages, or to be able to touch your tongue to your nose. Please---the claim to be speaking to the creator of the universe is an extraordinary claim(specifically, hearing him/her/it)

continues..."IOW, you won't be satisfied with just one or two accurate manifestations of power, but you demand 'repeatably successful results' right there in your own words."

Actually, no, I'm not making any "demand(s)". So, keeping your very own systematic procedures in mind, when/if I "demand" something, I'll use the word "demand".

Notwithstanding, why should I be satisfied with one or two "hits"? If a Muslim tells me that Muhammad is communicating "Prophetic" information from beyond the grave, and one or two of the "predictions" comes to light, is that satisfactory enough to believe Islam is the "Truth"? Isn't it more probable that there was inside information available, or that they got lucky? I think so.

And BTW, why shouldn't the "seer" be able to repeat their special powers?

"I hear you say you want to experience God. Do you extend these same criteria towards God, or not? If yes, then it appears you do want God to jump through at least some set of evidentiary hoops for you. If not, what type of isolated occurrence would suffice, and why are your criteria more stringent for the seer?" ~ cl

If "God" has a "will", and that "will" is for me to become a believer, then here's what I'd require for belief(notice, require; not "demand"):

He we go...

The same evidence that I will presumable get on the day that I am told that I "will believe".

BTW, previously, I asked if I'd become a "robot" at the point that I am convinced that "God" exists, as in, be forced to do all of the things that are in the "will" of this "God"..i.e..love "Him", worship "Him", etc., etc., and if I'm not mistaken, no one answered.

For the time being, I'll assume that, no, if biblegod gave me the same evidence that it intends to give me on "Judgement Day" - evidence which was stated "will" make a believer out of me - I will not lose my free will, in which case, I can still choose whether or not I want to "love", "worship", and follow said "God", in which case, my question is this:

Why all of this rigamarole about believing on "faith", and "God must remain hidden!", and "putting God to the test"??? Because, until someone explains otherwise, being convinced that the Christian deity exists does not harm anyone's "free will".

boomSLANG said...

Moving on....

I've already delineated what I'd require(again, require; not "demand") if the "seer" wants/expects me to believe that he or she actually has special powers, namely, being tapped into the "Divine". Why would I be more "stringent"? Here's why: because, a) we are dealing with human beings(who we know exist), and b) since humans have a history of harboring characteristics such as being fallible, deceitful, self-deceived---IOW, being human, then I believe that it much more likely that those things are at play, than it is that the "supernatural" is at play.

Previously, me: "So, at that precise moment, what exactly will [knowing God exists] prove(?)"

cl responds: "Well, among other things, it will prove that what's real is real regardless of whether we can test it or not...."

I already concede "that what's real is real". The conflict is that we obviously disagree on what the most reliable method for determining "what's real", is. I say it's the scientific method. Yet, since "God" cannot be tested scientifically(and according to Xians "shouldn't be tested", period), then to my understanding that leaves "faith" and "personal experience".

As I've stated what seems like dozens of times here, I am unable to believe. I am unable to believe the supposed "revelation" of the world's 3 leading monotheistic versions of "God", because I cannot force myself to believe that which I don't find believable(like that is unreasonable).

"...we must be held accountable to the Creator whether we believe the Creator exists or not, just as we are all subject to the law of gravity." ~ cl

To my knowledge, no scientist says thou shalt not test gravity. Moreover, we are perfectly free to reject/disbelieve in "gravity" without threats(or if one prefers, "promises") of bodily harm. Another crucial difference is that we don't have to wait until we die to see the ramifications for doubting "gravity". 'Don't believe in "gravity"? Fine---those who don't, are free to walk off the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

"It appears you've assumed something errant about my position on hell. I'm sure both Karla and I agree that Jesus talks about the subject extensively.. ~ cl

Actually, I think you're wrong. When the subject came up on another thread, I believe Karla said that she didn't want to talk about "Hell", and her reasoning was that "Jesus" didn't mention it much.[That is a paraphrasing from memory; I'll dig the exact comment up if need be]

"Where Karla and myself differ is that she accepts the 'eternal torture' version of hell, whereas I do not."

Yes, I'm aware that you two disagree there, but you also disagree on the frequency in which "Jesus" talks about "Hell".

"I currently believe those who reject God's provision will experience the ramifications of their sin in a measure exactly commensurate to the sin itself, then get put to sleep eternally."

Upon which Christian's interpretation should we take heed?

My goodness, if Xianity's true, I sure hope cl's right! I love sleep, and the thought of existing eternally sounds like, forgive the pun, a living hell.

boomSLANG said...

"Boom what I meant was just because seers or people in general mishear or misunderstand or misinterpret God sometimes, doesn't mean that He isn't speaking and that we don't hear right at other times." ~ Karla

And just because seers and people in general claim that "God speaks" to them and that sometimes they get the message "right", doesn't mean it's true.

Karla said...

I haven't had time today to respond to all the things I want to, and will try and remedy that tomorrow.

However, I did want to say that Boom is right regarding his statement of what I have said regarding hell. I just did a search and the word "hell" comes up only 11 times in the 4 Gospels and several of those times were mirrored Scriptures between the Gospels. He talked about the Kingdom of God/Kingdom of heaven a whole lot more.

Also regarding the robot thing, I don't think there is ever a time man becomes a robot.

cl said...

Karla,

I looked back pretty far, and I couldn't find a post on the importance of man. However, I did see one titled the Condition of Man; is that the one you meant?

boomSLANG,

Saying that you require something is the same thing as saying you demand it: both cases appeal to something you must have before you'll be willing to believe. To say you don't demand repeatability, you just require it, is semantic hair-splitting.

Regarding the "seer" you are in fact setting up a series of hoops to jump through. I get that humans are fallible; we agree there. That you think the claim is extraordinary does not cancel out the fact that you've set up a series of hoops to jump through.

I think what it boils down to is that you don't like the language with which I describe your position, but there's no getting around the fact that you expect the "seer" to jump through hoops for you.

The same evidence that I will presumable get on the day that I am told that I "will believe". (boomSLANG)

So then, when it comes to the seer you demand -- oops, require -- repeatability, but when it comes to God, you require a face-to-face meeting in real-time? Do I have that clear now?

As for the robot thing, no.

To my knowledge, no scientist says thou shalt not test gravity. Moreover, we are perfectly free to reject/disbelieve in "gravity" without threats(or if one prefers, "promises") of bodily harm. Another crucial difference is that we don't have to wait until we die to see the ramifications for doubting "gravity". 'Don't believe in "gravity"? Fine---those who don't, are free to walk off the Sunshine Skyway bridge. (boomSLANG)

None of that was ever in dispute; why spin the conversation off in an impertinent direction?

Actually, I think you're wrong. (boomSLANG)

As Karla testifies, I was wrong - in my assessment of her position. However, you're both wrong about the claim. Note that the number of times the word hell is used is not an accurate criteria. When one includes hades, tartarus, gehenna, etc., there are over 150 references to "hell" in the New Testament; some scholars attribute as many as 70 of them to Jesus.

The fact is that Jesus spoke of "hell" more than He did of "heaven" and the onus is on either of you to demonstrate otherwise.

cl said...

..if I heard voices in my head that were clearly not my own I'd seek medical attention immediately! (CyberKitten)

Now that's interesting; how would you know the difference?

Karla said...

Cl, yes, I'm sorry to send you on a wild goose chase, (-: I meant the Condition of Man.

Karla said...

Boom, regarding God’s omnipresence: God is outside of time. Time does not bind Him. It is inside Him. He, being eternal (having no beginning and no end, also has no confinement to time). This is why when Moses asked His name, He said I AM that I AM. He is never I was, or I will be, He has no past and no future, He only IS always in the Now for time is something we are confined to, but not Him. I don’t know why I didn’t think to bring this up with the conversation initially took place.

Ryft had a really good point and it reminded me of how I was forgetting about His omnipresence.


The same Bible that tells us He is omnipotent, and omniscient also tells us He is omnipresent. He fills all, and all that is is inside Him. He is not restrained or inhibited by time and it has no affect upon Him. He surpasses all that is, and is not restrained by the created. Time had a beginning, God did not, therefore God is Being irrespective of time.

Karla said...

Cyber, "Which is probably why one of the (many) authors of the Bible put it in there. In the (vain) hope that everyone would just accept His existence on pure faith. Well, I'm afraid I stopped simply taking people's word for things - especially *big* things - before I reached pubity."

I think the whole not put God to the test thing was very different than seeking to encounter the reality of Him rather than just believing based on empty faith. As I said to CL, and still maintain, that you can't really put Him to the test, when you do not believe He exist to test. In reality you are putting my claims to the test, as you well should.

Karla said...

Cl, regarding the heaven & hell thing, I will research that further later and get back with you on that. Probably not in the next few days, but we'll see how much time I get to look into that.

CyberKitten said...

cl said: Now that's interesting; how would you know the difference?

Because I know what 'I' sound like. If I heard an unfamiliar voice inside my head (without a clear external source) it would suggest that something was amiss, which would prompt me to take medical advice on the issue.

[Word Verification is PERIL - laughs]

boomSLANG said...

"Saying that you require something is the same thing as saying you demand it: both cases appeal to something you must have before you'll be willing to believe. To say you don't demand repeatability, you just require it, is semantic hair-splitting." ~ cl

You might see it as "hair-splitting", but I have a difference in mind. If I haven't illustrated this difference to your satisfaction, fine, I'm happy to try it a few more times:

If biblegod exists and it is important to him that I become believer, then the only thing in the way of that happening as far as I'm concerned, is a lack of some type of objective evidence that said "God" exists. In the mean time, I do not/cannot technically "demand" anything from someone/something that I don't believe exists. Surely you see the conundrum there.

Thus, if a "God" exists, the onus is upon it to see to it that its "will" gets met, but again, that is assuming that my becoming a believer is an important part of that "will". If it's not an important part - after all, we're insignificant to this supposed "God", according to some - then no loss, whatsoever, to either "God", or to me, because I don't believe anyway.

"Regarding the 'seer' you are in fact setting up a series of hoops to jump through." ~ cl

A "series"? Please---ONE thing: Repeatability.

continues..."I get that humans are fallible; we agree there. That you think the claim is extraordinary..."

And you don't believe the claim is "extraordinary"?

continues..."[that you think the claim is extraordinary] does not cancel out the fact that you've set up a series of hoops to jump through."

Again, not a "series". I ask the person claiming that he or she is tapped into the "Divine"("supernatural") to do one thing, >> if << I'm expected to believe. Here it is:

Be able to repeat his or her special powers, just like in my previous "Muslim" analogy, where I said if a Muslim claimed to be receiving "prophetic" information from "Muhammad" from beyond the grave, I'd require the same...i.e..repeatability.

I don't believe that is unreasonable, so if you do---if you believe that in such a situation that I am "demanding" that the Muslim "seer" "jump through a series of hoops"---then I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

boomSLANG said...

"So then, when it comes to the seer you demand -- oops, require -- repeatability.... ~ cl

Yes, that's right, cl...if someone expects me to believe that they are talking to the creator of the universe, I require evidence that rules out charlatanism, self-deception, or mental illness. If they don't give a rat's hindquarters if I believe them, then in turn, I surely don't give a rat's hindquarters what they "claim" to be able to do.

continues.....but when it comes to God, you require a face-to-face meeting in real-time? Do I have that clear now?" ~ cl

I delineated what senario would make me a believer. Considering that, yes, you have it "clear now", although, I hope we're clear on this part, too: I'm neither demanding nor requiring anything from this alleged "God", since I don't believe said "God" exists.

"As for the robot thing, no." ~ cl

Good, so then we can all agree that being throughly convinced that "God" exists does not harm our "free will", specifically, our ability to choose whether or not we want to love, honor, worship, and spend eternity with said "God", in which case, "God" can simply appear and have face-to-face encounters with everyone--- the "faithful", and the "faithless", alike. The pop'-apologetic, "God must remain hidden!" is a non-argument.

Previously, me: "To my knowledge, no scientist says thou shalt not test gravity. Moreover, we are perfectly free to reject/disbelieve in 'gravity' without threats(or if one prefers, 'promises') of bodily harm. Another crucial difference is that we don't have to wait until we die to see the ramifications for doubting 'gravity'. 'Don't believe in 'gravity'? Fine---those who don't, are free to walk off the Sunshine Skyway bridge."

cl responds: None of that was ever in dispute; why spin the conversation off in an impertinent direction?

It's not "impertinent". You made a comparison, here...

"...we must be held accountable to the Creator whether we believe the Creator exists or not, just as we are all subject to the law of gravity." ~ cl

I felt it plenty pertinent to point out the fact that we have testible/falsifiable evidence that one exists, and no such evidence that the other exists. I simply offered more information on the matter. That you don't "dispute" the facts I listed about "gravity" is irrelevant to the point I was making.

"As Karla testifies, I was wrong - in my assessment of her position. However, you're both wrong about the claim."

Good grief...the only thing I'm claiming is that cl and Karla disagree on the frequencing in which "Jesus" talks about "Hell" in the bible. Since it's clear that you two disagree on this issue(among others), I am right in this instance. To be clear---I do NOT claim to know how many times the alleged "son" of the alleged "creator of the universe" spoke about "Hell"; I only know that one time is enough to make me skeptical of the Christian philosophy, as a whole. Y'all go on ahead and hash it out. 'Should be interesting.

boomSLANG said...

"Boom, regarding God’s omnipresence: God is outside of time. Time does not bind Him. It is inside Him. He, being eternal (having no beginning and no end, also has no confinement to time). This is why when Moses asked His name, He said I AM that I AM. He is never I was, or I will be, He has no past and no future, He only IS always in the Now for time is something we are confined to, but not Him. I don’t know why I didn’t think to bring this up with the conversation initially took place." ~ Karla

(For the economy of time and space, there is one more related, but also, utterly irrelevant paragraph, that I didn't paste)

Yes, that "God" is not confined to "time" does not overcome the fact that said "God" has ALL knowledge, including the future set of events, in which case, you haven't remedied the subsequent dilemma: That the future is fixed/immovable, and thus, our "free will" is an illusion at best; a lie at worst.

"God" either knows who ends up in "Heaven"/"Hell", or "God" doesn't "know". If "God" doesn't know, "God" is not "omniscient". If "God" does know, then we are predestined to end up where "God" knows we'll end up.

You can't have it both ways(although I know that won't stop you from trying. I know the drill---defend "God" at all costs)

MS Quixote said...

"If "God" does know, then we are predestined to end up where "God" knows we'll end up."

Hey Boom,

I agree with you here: God does know, and it's predestined. No need to seek other lines of defense.

As a point of interest, though, your dilemma is certainly a false one:

" in which case, you haven't remedied the subsequent dilemma: That the future is fixed/immovable, and thus, our "free will" is an illusion at best; a lie at worst."

Unless you've proved compatibilism false, and you haven't and won't, there's another way through this dilemma as "free will" and determinism are compatible. Moreover, a libertarian view of free will is also perfectly compatible with determinism under Molinism,which also answers your hiddeness of God objections quite elegantly from a "free will" foundation.

Karla said...

I think everything I wanted to say in response to any recent comment I just said in my new post.

with one exception:

Quixote, I am glad to see you adding something to the conversation. I was hoping to hear you comment on the omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresent discussion.

Could you expound on your last paragraph or point me in the direction of more information of what you were saying there?

MS said...

"The reason for this, he tells us, is that either (a) God knows absolutely his future and therefore cannot change it, or (b) God can change his future and therefore cannot know it absolutely. What BoomSlang doesn't realize is that his argument is utterly defeated with one simple word: "omnipresence." "

If this is what you mean, it's a strawman argument if utilized against Christianity. As far as I'm aware, no orthodox Christian faith has ever affirmed that God's omnipotence means He can do anything and everything. It's rather obvious: Christians have always taught that God cannot sin, cannot commit suicide, cannot create another God...I could list quite a few. So to attempt to falsify Christianity by defining omnipotence as "the ability to do anything and everything" is wrongheaded.

Now, if someone suggests that there is an ability of God's that is contradicted by another of His attributes, that would be another matter. I've seen several of these attempts, but none are successful, IMO.

Omnipresence: It's altogether conceivable that God in fact enters time at the moment of creation. I don't see any major difficulties one way or the other.

"Could you expound on your last paragraph or point me in the direction of more information of what you were saying there?"

Compatibilism is a rival view to the libertarian free will view held by the majority of Christians today. In its basic form, it asserts that choices may be free and determined simultaneously. Whether you believe it or not, it enjoys a centuries-long history of philosophic support, including skeptics such as David Hume and Daniel Dennett. Thus, it's a well-worn and tested defeater for Boom's dilemma.

Molinism states that God possesses what is known as middle knowledge, and thereby knows the counterfactual free choices of creatures in any given situation in any possible world before creation. Thus, when God actualizes a possible world, the world proceeds deterministically, yet contains the free choices of creatures in all given situations. This creates a state of affairs whereby libertarian freedom and determinism co-exist. And, since God already knows the free choices of creatures, He is not under any obligation to call those who he already knows will reject Him. Hence, the hiddeness of God line fails to produce any worthwhile objection, given Molinism. It should be obvious why it does not under Calvinism.

These are just quick, thumbnail sketches, so don't hold me to critical accuracy. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy will give you all you ever wanted about compatibilism, and more. The leading Christian proponent of Molinism is William Lane Craig, and he defines and defends it vigorously over at his site.

I deeply admire Molinism, but, as you know, I think the Scriptures are best represented through Reformed Theology. Please don't ban me from your site for that!

cl said...

Re: March 18, 2010 1:59 PM

If biblegod exists and it is important to him that I become believer, then the only thing in the way of that happening as far as I'm concerned, is a lack of some type of objective evidence that said "God" exists. In the mean time, I do not/cannot technically "demand" anything from someone/something that I don't believe exists. Surely you see the conundrum there. (boomSLANG)

Well yes, I understand the conundrum, my point is that it's irrelevant to the larger discussion. All I mean to say is, when it comes to what you need to believe in the God of the Bible, that you require or demand certain conditions is true. Of course you can't demand anything from that which you don't believe exists; we were talking -- or at least, I was talking -- about why your demands were more strict for the seer. We agree that people are known to lie, but I'm curious as to what exactly you would require to believe in the God of the Bible? One miracle? 100? 1,000? One manifestation? 100? 1,000? Most of all, why?

Again, not a "series". (boomSLANG)

No, it's a series of steps that you're asking for. Any valid form of verification must be a series. IOW, it's not good enough for the seer to prove his or her powers with one or two hits, you require a series of hits -- that's what I'm getting at. There's some magic number at which you'll say, "Okay, we're likely dealing with the real thing." Maybe it's after 4,593 repetitions, I don't know, but I do know you require a series of repetitions.

You ask whether I think that's reasonable. I think repeatability is reasonable and required when it comes to science. That is, if we are testing for some property of matter, then yes, repeatability is the way to go. Since matter presumably cannot act of its own accord -- i.e., it does not have consciousness -- then it is expected that matter should act the same way the same time, every time, such that repeatability will yield useful and reliable results.

When it comes to something like a seer, I'll again agree that repeatability is reasonable and required.

However, when it comes to God, I think demands for repeatability are foolish and best and narcissistic at worst. Foolish, because they rest on the assumption that God should jump through every hoop we raise; narcissistic because they presume God should actually listen to such petulance.

Such is also foolish because it allows for a situation where God could heal a decapitated man in front of our faces, and the requirement for repeatability would rule out what we plainly witnessed.

Karla said...

Quixote, that's interesting. I haven't studied Molinism or compatibilism before. I am familiar with William Lain Craig. I haven't studied much by him though.

As far as Reformed Theology. I don't think any set of theology is perfect so I think there is a lot to learn from many different streams of theology. I am also a fan of Francis Schaeffer and I think he was a Reformed Theology guy as well as Cornelious Van Til.

cl said...

Re: March 18, 2010 2:14 PM,

I hope we're clear on this part, too: I'm neither demanding nor requiring anything from this alleged "God", since I don't believe said "God" exists. (boomSLANG)

Yes, we're clear: you're not demanding or requiring anything to believe God exists; you have demands and/or requirements that must be met before you'll believe God exists. I see nothing meaningful in the distinction, but I do see the distinction.

Good, so then we can all agree that being throughly convinced that "God" exists does not harm our "free will", specifically, our ability to choose whether or not we want to love, honor, worship, and spend eternity with said "God", in which case, "God" can simply appear and have face-to-face encounters with everyone--- the "faithful", and the "faithless", alike. The pop'-apologetic, "God must remain hidden!" is a non-argument. (boomSLANG)

I'm unsure both of exactly what you're getting at there, and it's import to this discussion.

It's not "impertinent". You made a comparison, here...
(boomSLANG)

It was impertinent -- you critiqued the form of the analogy instead. You asked "what that would prove" if you were only able to believe in God once it was too late. I answered that such would prove that reality proceeds irrespective of our beliefs, that we would still be accountable to said God in the same way we're still accountable to gravity whether we believe it or not.

That you don't "dispute" the facts I listed about "gravity" is irrelevant to the point I was making. (boomSLANG)

Correct; it was relevant to the point I was making, which is that in order to be relevant, you should have either said, "Okay, that answers my question," or, "Actually, that doesn't answer my question." To reply with tautologies about gravity was out of context considering your question was, "what does that prove?" But really, let's forget about it.

Good grief...the only thing I'm claiming is that cl and Karla disagree on the frequencing in which "Jesus" talks about "Hell" in the bible. (boomSLANG)

Actually, I owe you an apology there: I thought you made some statement on the frequency when you did not.

-I do NOT claim to know how many times the alleged "son" of the alleged "creator of the universe" spoke about "Hell"; I only know that one time is enough to make me skeptical of the Christian philosophy, as a whole. (boomSLANG)

Now that's interesting: when it comes to what you require to believe, you require repeatability -- but when it comes to what you require to disbelieve, "one time" is enough to make you skeptical? Your standards are grossly disproportionate.

Is it possible you only believe you're being objective, rational and consistent, in the same way you believe Karla only believes she "knows" God exists?

boomSLANG said...

Here's my question: Is person "MS" and person "MS Quixote" one and the same person?

If so, is this the same person who previously insinuated(on another thread) that my participation here was to incite "religious warefare"? I honestly don't remember, but if so, please don't waste your time responding to me, as I have no inclination to enage such ignorance. I don't give a rat's hindquarters how sincere you are in your beliefs.

If I have mistaken you for someone else, my apologies, and we can procede.

Me, previously: "If 'God' does know[who goes to Heaven/Hell], then we are predestined to end up where 'God' knows we'll end up."

MS Quixote, responds: "I agree with you here: God does know, and it's predestined. No need to seek other lines of defense."

Then, among other things, I have grounds to denounce any being who creates human beings knowing that they will be destined for eternal torture in "Hell". Such is grossly immoral, considering the supposed infinite list of alternatives a a "Perfect", "omniscient" being would have at its disposal, one of which, is to create only those whom this "God" knows will believe on/in it, thus, a) getting its "Will" met, and b) not tampering with believer's "free will", because after all, they still retain the illusion of "free will" in a deterministic universe.

Continues..."As a point of interest, though, your dilemma is certainly a false one:

Quotes me: "in which case, you haven't remedied the subsequent dilemma: That the future is fixed/immovable, and thus, our 'free will' is an illusion at best; a lie at worst."

elaborates.."Unless you've proved compatibilism false, and you haven't and won't..."

Ultimately, I don't need to prove "compatiblism false", as it is only relevant in a situation where a "God" exists, and while I'm granting for sake of discussion that a "God" exists and that it is "omniscient", "omnipotent", and "omnipresent", I can simply revoke that grant, and say prove "God" exists, and then we'll talk. I should point out at this time, though, that from a naturalistic POV, I believe we have limits on our "free will", due to things like human nature, and how the past influences our future. After all, we cannot choose to go back and make different choices, can we?(rhetorically asked).

continues...there's another way through this dilemma as 'free will and determinism are compatible.

I say they aren't compatible, and so do imcompatiblists.

continues..."Moreover, a libertarian view of free will is also perfectly compatible with determinism under Molinism, which also answers your hiddeness of God objections quite elegantly from a 'free will' foundation."

Will it suffice if I provide some criticisms of "Molinism"?

In the mean time, you can choose to stop reading right here]

Or.....you can choose to keep reading, just as you have done.

In a deterministic universe where "God" has Absolute knowledge of the future set of events, if we could "pause", "rewind", and "playback" the universe, it must playback the same each and every time in order for "God" to know what will happen.

IOW, you would choose to keep reading, just as "God" knew you would. Thus, again, your "free will" is an illusion at best; a lie at worst. You can stand on the roof tops and proclaim "Molinsim"(or whatever other philosophies you can find on the subject), but you cannot escape the above conundrum.

boomSLANG said...

"Of course you can't demand anything from that which you don't believe exists...." ~ cl

This is fantastic news. I'm glad it's cleared up, once and for all.

continues..."we were talking -- or at least, I was talking -- about why your demands were more strict for the seer." ~ cl

Simple---because the "seer" is someone whose physical make-up is just like mine. They, like me, are a mere mortal, but yet, they are making what I view as a fantastic claim---the claim to be conversing with the supposed "creator of the universe", who they claim is a "supernatural" being.

For the sake of argument, my conception of "God" is that of Christian's..i.e..a "superior", "Perfect" being.

Therefore, when/if I am convinced that said being exists(as 'the theist' asserts the day is coming that I will be convinced), then I would like to believe that this "God" has not engaged/will not engage in any of the undesirable actions that humans are known for, i.e....lying, trickery, charlatanism, etc.

Therefore, since humans are most certainly known for those things, that's why I'm more "strict" with them.

"We agree that people are known to lie, but I'm curious as to what exactly you would require to believe in the God of the Bible? One miracle? 100? 1,000? One manifestation? 100? 1,000? Most of all, why? ~ cl

Yesterday, on the latest thread, I delineated what would constitute evidence enough for me to adopt a belief in "God". And I might be mistaken, but I thought I made that clear on this thread, too.

To be sure, 'the theist' asserts that one day, sooner, or later, I "will believe.[bold, mine; italics, original]

Thus, there is evidentally a senario in which I won't have any choice but to become a believer, and I understand this senario to be a direct, face-to-face encounter with "God"["Yahweh"].

Let the record show that it is this type of encounter that would convince me right now. No, it doesn't have to happen "100" or "1000" times---and it doesn't even have to happen at all, that is, if no one, including "God", cares if I believe, or not.

On the other hand, if "God" and/or theists want me to become a believer, then yes, I require the above-mentioned, one-time evidence, and I don't feel that I'm being unreasonable for doing so.

boomSLANG said...

"Any valid form of verification must be a series. ~ cl

To purchase alcohol, one may need a valid photo ID for verification of age. Does that constitute a "series" of proof? Not in my view. On the other hand, to renew a driver's license in my state, one needs the following: two forms of photo ID, proof of residencey, a birth certificate, and they need to pass an eye exame. I understand and concede that that is a "series".

continues..."There's some magic number at which you'll say, 'Okay, we're likely dealing with the real thing.' Maybe it's after 4,593 repetitions, I don't know, but I do know you require a series of repetitions."

Repeatability, by definition, requires more than once. Again, to say I require "a series of tests"[bold mine] implies different tests.

Thus, your latest description..i.e.."a series of hits", is more apt.

So, yes, if the "seer" expects me to believe that he or she is the real-deal, I'd require more than one or two "hits". Again, I don't believe that I am being unreasonable, given the shear number of charlatans, past-to-present, who've claimed "supernatural" powers, but who've been proven frauds.

"When it comes to something like a seer, I'll again agree that repeatability is reasonable and required." ~ cl

and...

"However, when it comes to God, I think demands for repeatability are foolish and best and narcissistic at worst. Foolish, because they rest on the assumption that God should jump through every hoop we raise; narcissistic because they presume God should actually listen to such petulance." ~ cl

We seem to be miscommunicating.

Several times now, I've said that I only require "repeatability" for those claiming to speak to/for "God"...i.e..the "seer", but would only require a one-time encounter with "God", "Himself", to become a believer. Where am I going wrong? I simply don't know how to make it any clearer.

As for "God" listening to nonbeliever's "petulance", I've also made it clear(I thought) that if "God" doesn't care if I believe or not, then fine, neither do I, in which case, "God" doesn't have to do jack' for me, including, "listen" to me(assuming a being who is "omniscient" needs to "listen" in order to know what I think/feel)

"Yes, we're clear: you're not demanding or requiring anything to believe God exists; you have demands and/or requirements that must be met before you'll believe God exists. I see nothing meaningful in the distinction, but I do see the distinction." ~ cl

Good.

boomSLANG said...

Previously, me: "Good, so then we can all agree that being throughly convinced that 'God' exists does not harm our 'free will', specifically, our ability to choose whether or not we want to love, honor, worship, and spend eternity with said 'God', in which case, 'God' can simply appear and have face-to-face encounters with everyone---the 'faithful', and the 'faithless', alike. The pop'-apologetic, 'God must remain hidden!' is a non-argument."

cl responds: "I'm unsure both of exactly what you're getting at there, and it's import to this discussion."

What I'm getting at is that it is very common to hear Christians(not all, but most that I encounter, including Karla) make excuses as to why biblegod cannot simply appear and convince everyone of its existence. The leading apologetic is that it would tamper with our "free will". The story goes, "God" wants people to "choose" him; "He" doesn't want "robots".

This is a non-argument, because, again, even if I was a thoroughly convinced believer, I presumably still have the "free will" with which to choose whether or not I want to follow said "God". I believe that you said that belief, itself, is useless[paraphrased]

Its "import to this discussion" is that we are talking about what "evidence" would be convincing to believe. IOW, if everyone believed, "God" still has a lot if its work ahead of it. So, why doesn't "God" just appear and make all skeptics believers, since being a believer entails much, much more than just "belief"?

"It was impertinent -- you critiqued the form of the analogy instead. You asked "what that would prove" if you were only able to believe in God once it was too late. I answered that such would prove that reality proceeds irrespective of our beliefs, that we would still be accountable to said God in the same way we're still accountable to gravity whether we believe it or not." ~ cl

Again, I readily concede that "reality proceeds irrespective of our beliefs". In that case, the reader can view the distiction I made between "God" and "gravity" as added information. If he or she sees this information as unrelated or "impertinent", fine. I believe it's an important distinction, either way.

"Now that's interesting: when it comes to what you require to believe, you require repeatability -- but when it comes to what you require to disbelieve, 'one time' is enough to make you skeptical?" ~ cl

I'll attempt this yet one more time:

Until I am convinced by "God", "Himself",(please review what that would take, if need be), then as far I'm concerned, I am dealing with human beings who are telling me that this "God" exists and that they can have conversations with it. This would include the redactors of the bible, as well.

Thus, since "Hell" appears once in the bible, that makes me, yes, skeptical. I don't believe the bible is the "Word of God".

"Your standards are grossly disproportionate. ~ cl

Frankly, that opinion doesn't mean much to me since you cannot seem to get the differing evidences I'd require for the differing situations, straight.

"Is it possible you only believe you're being objective, rational and consistent, in the same way you believe Karla only believes she "knows" God exists?" ~ cl

I suppose, but since I disbelieve in the other bazillion gods throughout history, that should at least show that I'm being consistent across the board, whereas, I believe Karla is compartmentalizing her beliefs.

I disbelieve in "Allah". Am I being rational? Or irrational?

MS said...

Hey Boom,

MS and MS Quixote are the same, and it's not I who accused you of the "religious warfare" thing. We didn't exactly have a great dialogue as I recall, but I wouldn't accuse you of that, and don't think it now, having heard it.

I'm interested though: if you believe people don't have free will, how could you be mad at the person who said it to you?

"Then, among other things, I have grounds to denounce any being who creates human beings knowing that they will be destined for eternal torture in "Hell"."

I'd say you could make that accusation under any orthodox Christian system, Boom, because He knows beforehand under all of them. The only exception is open theism, which is not generally considered within the pale of orthodoxy.

But, you're denouncing God for him agreeing with your choice, which is not a logical objection, but an emotional one. And, yet again, we've all denied here that hell equates with your characterization of eternal "torture." If you're going to insist on that, we really cannot go any further...

"infinite list of alternatives a a "Perfect", "omniscient" being would have at its disposal, one of which, is to create only those whom this "God" knows will believe on/in it,"

This is not at all evident to me. Can you offer proof for this positive assertion?

"Ultimately, I don't need to prove "compatiblism false", as it is only relevant in a situation where a "God" exists, and while I'm granting for sake of discussion that a "God" exists and that it is "omniscient", "omnipotent", and "omnipresent", I can simply revoke that grant"

As a point of logic, to sustain your dilemma, you must.

"I believe we have limits on our "free will","

I agree, Boom, and I would further that limitation to God's will...

"Thus, again, your "free will" is an illusion at best; a lie at worst. You can stand on the roof tops and proclaim "Molinsim"(or whatever other philosophies you can find on the subject), but you cannot escape the above conundrum."

You've simply repeated your former claim by virtue of a different analogy. Again, Compatibilism and Molinism (systems that have enjoyed philosophic acceptance for centuries by skeptic and theist alike for centuries) both serve as defeaters for your claim here, and they will until you refute them.

Hey Boom, I doubt we have much more to say along these lines, but the conversational tones are much more enjoyable this time, and I thank you for that.

boomSLANG said...

"MS and MS Quixote are the same, and it's not I who accused you of the 'religious warfare' thing." ~ MS Quixote

Okay, 'sorry for any confusion.

"We didn't exactly have a great dialogue as I recall, but I wouldn't accuse you of that, and don't think it now, having heard it." ~ MS Quixote

What, IYO, would constitute a "great dialogue" between atheist and theist?

"I'm interested though: if you believe people don't have free will, how could you be mad at the person who said it to you? ~ MS Quixote.

I didn't say that I believe people don't have free will, period. I said our free will is limited. For instance, human beings have an innate nature..i.e..human nature. Thus, I cannot simply "choose" to live outside of that nature. I can choose to go to the store, but I cannot choose to fly there.

Previously, me: Then, among other things, I have grounds to denounce any being who creates human beings knowing that they will be destined for eternal torture in 'Hell'.

MS Quixote responds: "I'd say you could make that accusation under any orthodox Christian system, Boom, because He knows beforehand under all of them. The only exception is open theism, which is not generally considered within the pale of orthodoxy."

Yes, of course, there's always one split-off/group/denomination of the Christian philosophy that can be "the exception", once again, illustrating the subjectiveness of holding theistic beliefs.

continues..."But, you're denouncing God for him agreeing with your choice..."

What "choice"? As I've stated over and over---if, a priori, "God" knows, *absolutely*, that I am going to "Hell" - or if you prefer to soften the blow, that I will "perish" - then by god(pun intended), that's what will happen. And this is regardless of if I retain the illusion of "free will". That "God" can presumably travel along the time-line at will is a problem for "God", not its "creation".

continues..."[But, you're denouncing God for him agreeing with your choice], which is not a logical objection, but an emotional one."

It doesn't have to be one or the other. It can be - and in this case - it is, both. Emotional, in the sense that I've been burned very badly in an accident in the past, so I know what several days of excruciating burn-pain feels like.

The concept of my fellow human beings being kept alive and "punished" with fire by your biblegod for not being a "Christian", is a belief that should be denounced. It is sadistic; it is barbaric; it is inhumane; it is immoral.

Notwithstanding, if you take issue with me calling it "torture", then fine, you can stop responding to me. No hard feelings, what. so. ever.

continues..."And, yet again, we've all denied here that hell equates with your characterization of eternal 'torture.' If you're going to insist on that, we really cannot go any further..."

Since punishment is generally meant to be remedial, then in my view, perpetual(eternal) "punishment" then becomes "torture". That's how I arrive at the description, "torture".

And yes, I'm perfectly aware that not all of you agree on what "Hell" is, or how many times "Jesus" mentions it, etc.

Perhaps you all hash it out amongst yourselves, and then we'll go from there. 'Should be interesting.

boomSLANG said...

Previously, me: "infinite list of alternatives a a "Perfect", "omniscient" being would have at its disposal, one of which, is to create only those whom this "God" knows will believe on/in it..

MS Quixote responds: "This is not at all evident to me. Can you offer proof for this positive assertion?"

Perhaps there's a misunderstanding. I'm saying that if "God", by definition/description, is things like "Perfect", "omniscient" and "omnipotent", then I'm being reasonable to conclude that said "God" has an infinite list of alteratives to "Hell", a few of which are, a) choose not to create at all(since a "Perfect", self-sustained being doesn't need anything), or b) choose to create only those whom it knows will believe in it, thus, eliminating the need for "Hell".

That said, I fail to see what "proof" you're asking me to supply. I don't believe in "God". You do, and it is Xians who insist their biblegod is all of the "omni"-attributes. Those attributes come with implications.

Me, previously: Ultimately, I don't need to prove "compatiblism false", as it is only relevant in a situation where a "God" exists, and while I'm granting for sake of discussion that a "God" exists and that it is "omniscient", "omnipotent", and "omnipresent", I can simply revoke that grant"

MS Quixote responds: "As a point of logic, to sustain your dilemma, you must."

As a point of logic, it's not my dilemma; it's the theist's dilemma. As I said, I can back up and simply ask you to prove that a "God" exists, as there is no dilemma at all in a naturalist universe, as no human being knows the "future" set of events. Ideally, if we could "pause", "rewind", and "playback" a "God"-less, natural universe, it wouldn't necessarily be a "rerun". Conversely, in a deterministic universe where "God" exists and knows the future outcome of everything, the "playback" would logically and necessarily be a "rerun".

continues..."I agree, Boom, and I would further that limitation to God's will..."

So, if all of existence is limited to "God's will", then we are essentially robots. Moreover, things like "praying" for "God" to do anything other than its "will", is counter-productive at best; pointless at worst.

"You've simply repeated your former claim by virtue of a different analogy. Again, Compatibilism and Molinism (systems that have enjoyed philosophic acceptance for centuries by skeptic and theist alike for centuries) both serve as defeaters for your claim here, and they will until you refute them." ~ MS Quixote

Then here's a challenge: Find me a "compatabilist" who is a proponent of "Molinism" who can prove that an invisible, conscious, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent being created and oversees the universe, and we'll go from there. Otherwise, we're talking one group of philosopher's opinions vs another's. What?..you don't think that "William Lane Craig" has detractors? Please.

"Hey Boom, I doubt we have much more to say along these lines, but the conversational tones are much more enjoyable this time, and I thank you for that." ~ MS Quxiote

As of recently, we've only had a few exchanges. Give it time ; )

@ all,

Please forgive my atrocious spelling yesterday.

MS said...

"Those attributes come with implications."

If you suggest what God can and cannot do, it's reasonable to ask for a logical demonstration. You'd ask no less of me, I'm sure...

"As a point of logic, it's not my dilemma; it's the theist's dilemma. As I said, I can back up and simply ask you to prove that a "God" exists,"

You set forth the dilemma, and now refuse to defend it in front of universally known defeaters. Backing up to the "prove God exists" position is simply a fighting withdrawal that tacitly acknowledges the defeat of your dilemma.

"So, if all of existence is limited to "God's will", then we are essentially robots."

Simply your third re-statement of the dilemma, which stands soundly defeated.

"Then here's a challenge: Find me a "compatabilist" who is a proponent of "Molinism" who can prove that an invisible, conscious, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent being created and oversees the universe, and we'll go from there."

Pardon me for saying this. Boom, but this is evidence that you do not understand what I am communicating to you. No known Molinists are compatibilists. Molinism entails libertarian freedom, which is the denial of compatibilism.

They're independent systems that both refute your dilemma. The rest is yet again fighting withdrawal that tacitly acknowledges the defeat of the dilemma.

" As of recently, we've only had a few exchanges. Give it time ; )"

Ha! Excellent. Sense of humor makes this enjoyable, Boom, otherwise, let's forget it. BTW-I have no stake in attempting to prove to you that God exists. That's your own business. I am only weighing in on the dilemma.

boomSLANG said...

Previously, me: "Those attributes["omni"-this, that, and the other thing] come with implications."

MS Quixote responds: "If you suggest what God can and cannot do, it's reasonable to ask for a logical demonstration. You'd ask no less of me, I'm sure..."

In regards to what "God" can and can't do, let me be clear: Perhaps there exists an unknowable, undefinable, incomprehensible, disembodied "mind" that we might call "God". If this is the case, then for all I know, this "God" can do any darned thing it wants to do.

On the other hand, the second that we humans claim to know a "God"; define a "God"; comprehend a "God", including, knowing in which ways it is limited/unlimited, then this is the second that I can rightfully and reasonably take issue with what said humans are asserting.

As far as "demonstrating" that certain attributes are logically mutually exclusive, it's really quite simple. I'll use an analogy using a human being, since we all agree that human beings exist:

I have a roomate. He says that @ 2:15 PM on October 10 2010 that he will be having lunch with Jennifer Lopez. When I ask him how he knows for certain that this lunch date will transpire, he tells me that he knows the future.

In order for my roomate to be correct in his assertion of knowing the future, he must have lunch with Jennifer Lopez @ 2:15 PM on October 10 2010. Between now and then, if my roomate changes his mind - or if some other future event happens that prevents that lunch date - then my roomate's claim of having knowledge of the future is called into question.

Thus, in order to be "correct" in his claim, he cannot change his mind between now and then, nor can any other future event prevent it(or he would have predicted that event, too, thus, knowing that the latter event wouldn't transpire).

In my view, I have sufficiently demonstrated that certain claims of unlimitation are not logically compatible, specifically, unlimited knowledge the future, and unlimited free will. If you insist that "God" is different for reasons X, Y, Z, then fine, feel free to give an analogy that demonstrates how "God" overcomes this conundrum.

*Note, if it is argued that "God" is "omnipresent", and therefore, that "God" is not bound by time, or that there is "middle knowledge", then consider that, if "omnipresent" means, "being in all places at all times", then "God" is currently, and is always, in "time", just as you, me, and my "roomate" are in time.

boomSLANG said...

MS Quixote: "You set forth the dilemma, and now refuse to defend it in front of universally known defeaters."

Defeaters? Wow, it must be so, to have earned that title ; )

"God" is unproven, so what do we have? We have theologians and/or philosophers debating back and forth over the issues....namely, the attributes, that as far as I'm concerned, are merely mankind self-projecting as "God". Again, you don't think "William Lane Craig" has detractors?

continues..."Backing up to the 'prove God exists' position is simply a fighting withdrawal that tacitly acknowledges the defeat of your dilemma."

Says the person who acknowledges he cannot prove "God".

And once more, that the dilemma has been "defeated" is opinion.

Previously, me: So, if all of existence is limited to "God's will", then we are essentially robots.

MS Quixote responds: "Simply your third re-statement of the dilemma, which stands soundly defeated."

'Simply the third re-statement of your opinion that said dilemma has been "defeated".

Notwithstanding, previously you said..."I agree, Boom, and I would further that limitation to God's will..."[bold added]

Are we, or are we not, "limited" to "God's will"?????? If not, then perhaps you need another word for "limitation", or maybe, qualify it with "sometimes", or, "when it's convenient". 'Just a suggestion.

MS Quixote: "They're independent systems that both refute your dilemma. The rest is yet again fighting withdrawal that tacitly acknowledges the defeat of the dilemma."

Let me try another angle so we can put this to bed: Since philosophers exist who are "incompatibilists", does that mean that I am right when I say in my argument that, "compatibilism is defeated!!!"?

I'll wager that you'll say "no", and in that case, please understand why I don't take very much stock in when you or "compatibilists" say "incompatibilism is defeated!!!!" Especially when some "compatibilists" use words like "limitations", when they really mean something else.

MS Quxote: "Ha! Excellent. Sense of humor makes this enjoyable, Boom, otherwise, let's forget it."

I'm willing to "forget it" any ol' time, really. The problem is, theist's respective gods are not.

continues..."BTW-I have no stake in attempting to prove to you that God exists. That's your own business. I am only weighing in on the dilemma."

Nor do I have a stake in trying to prove to you that "God doesn't exist!", because, a) that's not my position, and b) I know and concede that I cannot prove a negative. The difference is, I'm not telling you anything with conditions attached to it; you are free to walk away without threats, or if you prefer, "Promises", of bodily harm.

MS said...

Hey Boom,

Don't take my word for it. Take your dilemma to a secular philosophy site and let them analyze it for you.

boomSLANG said...

No. Instead, for sake of discussion, I'm going to take your word for it. 'Kay? 'Done.

Thus, compatibilists are right; incompatibilists are wrong.

"Free will" is compatible with a deterministic universe that is overseen by an invisible conscious being who is "omniscient".

If you're interested, here's some follow-up questions:

- are we "free" to not live in accordance with our human nature?

- are we "free" to not be cognizant of our past, which directly influences our future choices? If "yes", how so?

- assuming that "limitation" actually means being limited, how are we truly "free" if our actions are limited to "God's will"?

- is there some objective confirmation that there exists an invisible, conscious, omniscient being who oversees the universe? If so, where?

*The reason for the last question is not a "fighting withdrawl". I've already conceded for sake of argument that all "compatibilists" are "right". The reason for the question is to illustrate that if no such objective confirmation exists or is forthcoming, then it ultimately might not matter if "compatibilists" are "right".

MS said...

"*The reason for the last question is not a "fighting withdrawl"."

I agree without reservation, Boom.

"Thus, compatibilists are right; incompatibilists are wrong."

This will probably irritate you to no end, but I don't know if this is true or not. I'm was ony saying that the existence of compatibilism as a live philosphic option with no shortage of support from theists and skeptics alike for a period of centuries makes your dilemma a false one, as compatibilism represents a denial of the proposition that "the future is fixed and immovable, therefore free will is false."

Now, I would defend your right to be persuaded by your argument all day and all night. It is logically conceivable that you are correct, and there's no shortage of brilliant thinkers who think along those lines, or something very close to them. If you're persuaded by the argument, fine, I just don't think it's fair to present it as an unavoidable logical necessity. Hope that clears the air some.

"The reason for the question is to illustrate that if no such objective confirmation exists or is forthcoming, then it ultimately might not matter if "compatibilists" are "right"."

I quite agree, and I am grateful that the reason for the line of questioning was not what I expected it to be. I was expecting something very different before I got to this part of your comment. Thank you.

"are we "free" to not live in accordance with our human nature?"

Good use of quotes around "free." I agree with you here (I think) that we must live in accordance with our human nature.

"- are we "free" to not be cognizant of our past, which directly influences our future choices? If "yes", how so?"

If I understand you here, I'd say no, we're not--as in I'm not free to remove the knowledge from my consciousness short of a lobotomy, or some similar strange event. I would think between the two of us we could identify examples whereby an unknown part of each individuals past could directly influence future choices without the conscious knowledge of the individual. I'd be willing to say that's almost certain.

"- assuming that "limitation" actually means being limited, how are we truly "free" if our actions are limited to "God's will"?"

You like analogies, so let me give you one. God rigs my mind with an electrode that prevents me from ordering any flavor other than vanilla at Baskin Robbins. When I enter the store, I peruse all the flavors and decide to choose vanilla. Since God never activated the electrode, He did not affect my will, yet I chose vanilla freely.

This analogy does not relieve the ultimate paradox you're centering on, but it does demonstrate that there need not be multiple choices available for a will to choose freely.

My particular view of the will is that we choose according to our strongest desire for any given choice. Thus, every choice made will be in accordance with the creature's strongest desire, which is the same as saying the creature chooses exactly what he or she wants. If the creature chooses exactly what they want or desire, I can't imagine a more free choice.

MS said...

Nevertheless, I understand the trap here: if God ordains all that comes to pass, then he ordained the state of affairs that led to my strongest desires at any given moment; hence, the choice is not truly free, and his will is ultimately the prime causal factor. I understand & I agree. I think any Christian that denies the fact that some mystery exists here is not playing fair, especially Calvinists such as myself.

You are welcome to press this line forward if you like, but please do not conflate primary and secondary causation. Just because there exists a primary cause, it does not necessarily mean that the secondary cause is impotent or invalid.

Were I of Karla's mind with respect to Christianity, the answer here is simple: God knows the free will choices of creatures under any given state of affairs prior to creation and actualizes a possible, feasible world that unfolds deterministically with those free choices as properties of the actualized world.

"- is there some objective confirmation that there exists an invisible, conscious, omniscient being who oversees the universe? If so, where?"

There certainly has been in my life experience, Boom, and through what I would deem as the deliverances of Reason. I would not expect you to consider these objective, however, and they certainly do not approach the objectivity of 1+1=2. I suspect it's much the same way with the naturalist attempting to persuade the Christian.

One question for you in return: if everything does proceed deterministically, at least in the macro-world we frequent, aren't I perfectly within my epistemic rights to harbor Christian belief? I could do no other, right, and by necessity it would appear true to me, correct?

boomSLANG said...

I might not get to a comprehensive reply until the first of the week.

For the time being, if every waking moment we have competing desires and the strongest of those desires wins(which, BTW, is the position that I, too, hold), then, while you "can't imagine a more free choice", I see that as being unable to choose anything but what we most desire, which at face-value, doesn't seem unreasonable, but it is a clear limitation, nonetheless.

Moreover, since we are natural beings who can reflect, we know that getting what we desire(in hindsight) doesn't pan-out to be a desirable situation 100% of the time. In fact, the only way radical "free will" can exist is if we could formulate choices out of "nothing", as opposed to formulating them based on our pasts, which, again, plays a large role in our making choices(as you concede)

MS said...

"I might not get to a comprehensive reply until the first of the week."

No problem, Boom. We've actually reached a point of substantial agreement in your last comment. The "as you concede" tag is unnecessary, as I generally concur with your comment.

Karla said...

Boom “ Again, if "God" doesn't adhere to an external standard of "morals", then "God" HAS no "morals", thus, "God" follows no "morals", thus, "God" is amoral. “

Please tell me this. If you say that God has to be amoral – does that rule out in your mind that He could be good? Are “amoral” and “good” incompatible terms?

boomSLANG said...

FYI, you asked the same question on another thread, and I addressed it. It appears that you might've inadvertently posted the above question on the wrong thread. I'm runnin' with that.

Karla said...

yes it was an error