AuthorTopic: Faith and Reason, again  (Read 17656 times)

Offline Ka

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Faith and Reason, again
« on: March 27, 2013, 07:53:24 PM »
But you'll start another Christian debacle trying to get them to see that point.  How much energy has gone into trying to prove Christianity with apologetics?  When it comes down to the Bible, the great transmission of Christianity, having to be written by divine intervention and believed on faith.  Why do you need to try and prove faith with apologetics?  It doesn't make any sense.  Faith doesn't care about apologetics...otherwise it wouldn't be faith.

Why are you into Druidry and not, say, evangelical Christianity? Answer: because you thought about it. At least I doubt that you listed all faiths on a wall and threw a dart at it, and it happened to land on Druidry. Apologetics is just the name for "thinking about it". And it is not about proving anything, just figuring out for oneself which faith makes most sense for you. RE did it, Ashvin did it, I did it, and you did it, as does everyone who thinks about their spiritual stance. True, we each came up with a different answer, but that's because we vary in what we presuppose, what we know to start with, how deeply we reason, just as different people rationally come to differing political or economic views. Faith and reason are -- or should be -- complementary.

Of course, this does not mean that you or anyone should feel obliged to defend your faith against gainsayers. But you shouldn't be surprised when someone's faith is attacked that he or she responds.


Offline luciddreams

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2013, 08:10:30 PM »

Why are you into Druidry and not, say, evangelical Christianity? Answer: because you thought about it. At least I doubt that you listed all faiths on a wall and threw a dart at it, and it happened to land on Druidry. Apologetics is just the name for "thinking about it". And it is not about proving anything, just figuring out for oneself which faith makes most sense for you.

Have you told Ashvin that? 

By the way, refresh my memory, you're Christian correct?

Quote
RE did it, Ashvin did it, I did it, and you did it, as does everyone who thinks about their spiritual stance. True, we each came up with a different answer, but that's because we vary in what we presuppose, what we know to start with, how deeply we reason, just as different people rationally come to differing political or economic views. Faith and reason are -- or should be -- complementary.

I agree with all of that.

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Of course, this does not mean that you or anyone should feel obliged to defend your faith against gainsayers. But you shouldn't be surprised when someone's faith is attacked that he or she responds.

I'm not sure what you're gettin at here.  Who's talking about defending faith?  That's my point.  Faith doesn't need defense because faith is true.  I believe what I believe through my experience; that being the memories I've collected in this life (and perhaps previous ones).  Christianity claims specificity in truth.  Only Christianity is true is what Christianity claims.  All beliefs that do this cause war.  Druidry is my truth, but it could just as easily be Buddhism, or Hinduism for that matter.  Hell, I was baptized a Christian at Knott Avenue Christian Church in SoCal, May 5th 1990. 

As a Christian, can you say that Siddhartha Gautama said the same thing as Jesus of Nazareth, as pertains to spiritual enlightenment?  I say the messages were one and the same.  But Christians say no, you get deleted.  WTF?   :emthdown:   

bob

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2013, 09:19:55 PM »
Ka,
Apologetics is not a name for "thinking about it" An 1860 southern apologist for slavery who thinks about it awhile, say cant find any meaningful difference except skin colour, rythm, and running speed, and abandons the belief a negro is an animal and concludes slavery is wrong is no longer an apologist for slavery. An apologist is therefore exactly like a defence or prosecution lawyer committed to disallowing certain evidence or witnesses. Not looking for truth or justice, just a win on their position by any means. A christian apologist gets nowhere even close to making a case beyond reasonable doubt where they have a burden of proof. In reality they serve only one function, which is not to convince a sceptic where they fail. They serve only the purpose of allaying doubt in the true believers mind, and the thinking about it is not critical thinking but only the notion that very clever and scholarly people with phd's from christian colleges have already researched and proven the bible to be true in every aspect. If a sceptic is unconvinced their heart is not right or hate god.

An apologist for anything is committed to denying opposing evidence or explaining it away. Christian apologetics fails to convince the open minded inquiry every time. It requires a massive dose of FAITH to swallow. It is therefore not a matter of being surprised when the christian apologist defends his religion, but being unsurprised when he does NOT defend it where he can not. To make that list you only need to prevent simplified arguments. Again this appears lawyerly and unlike jesus own example of deigning to slum it with the lowly.


Offline Ka

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2013, 09:28:18 PM »

Why are you into Druidry and not, say, evangelical Christianity? Answer: because you thought about it. At least I doubt that you listed all faiths on a wall and threw a dart at it, and it happened to land on Druidry. Apologetics is just the name for "thinking about it". And it is not about proving anything, just figuring out for oneself which faith makes most sense for you.

Have you told Ashvin that? 

Didn't have to, as he agrees with it.

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By the way, refresh my memory, you're Christian correct?

No, insofar as I am not a theist. I do think, though, that Jesus' incarnation was a pivotal divine intervention in history, but I'd have to go into the whole Barfield thing to explain that.

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Of course, this does not mean that you or anyone should feel obliged to defend your faith against gainsayers. But you shouldn't be surprised when someone's faith is attacked that he or she responds.

I'm not sure what you're gettin at here.  Who's talking about defending faith?

You are, when you object to Ashvin's apologetics. His faith was attacked. Apologetics is his defense.

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Faith doesn't need defense because faith is true.  I believe what I believe through my experience; that being the memories I've collected in this life (and perhaps previous ones).

But the question is which faith is true. That you believe what you believe just is faith. Yes, it is based on your experience, but you had to interpret, i.e., think about, that experience in order to put it into a spiritual stance, and rejected others. You have made a commitment to that stance, which is all I mean by faith. No doubt it is subject to revision as you experience and reason further, but in the meantime, that is your faith. Which is the best we can do, short of all-out mystical Realization.

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Christianity claims specificity in truth.  Only Christianity is true is what Christianity claims. All beliefs that do this cause war.

First, that is changing. There are many pacifist Christians, after all, many who accept reincarnation or what have you. Second, that is not a valid argument against the alleged truth of Christianity. You don't like war, nor excessive specificity in dogma. But how do you know that there isn't a God that wants certain wars, or that this or that specific doctrine is not true?

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Druidry is my truth, but it could just as easily be Buddhism, or Hinduism for that matter.  Hell, I was baptized a Christian at Knott Avenue Christian Church in SoCal, May 5th 1990. 

As a Christian, can you say that Siddhartha Gautama said the same thing as Jesus of Nazareth, as pertains to spiritual enlightenment?  I say the messages were one and the same.  But Christians say no, you get deleted.  WTF?   :emthdown:

Some (modern) Christians would say yes, some (like Ashvin) would say no. Of course, one needs to be more specific on which things Gautama/Jesus said, but nevermind. It should be noted that assuming Jesus was saying the same things about spiritual enlightenment as the Buddha involves reading into the NT more -- and less -- than is there. In other words, your claim that their messages were the same (with which I am somewhat in agreement with, by the way) is itself a feature of your faith.

Offline Ka

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2013, 10:25:44 PM »
Ka,
Apologetics is not a name for "thinking about it" An 1860 southern apologist for slavery who thinks about it awhile, say cant find any meaningful difference except skin colour, rythm, and running speed, and abandons the belief a negro is an animal and concludes slavery is wrong is no longer an apologist for slavery.

True, so? An atheist who has reasons for his atheism who becomes a Christian is no longer an apologist for atheism, and a Christian who has reasons for his Christianity who becomes an atheist is no longer an apologist for Christianity.

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An apologist is therefore exactly like a defence or prosecution lawyer committed to disallowing certain evidence or witnesses. Not looking for truth or justice, just a win on their position by any means.

Your "therefore" does not follow from the previous. You are now adding claims about Christian apologists, without any basis that I can see.

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A christian apologist gets nowhere even close to making a case beyond reasonable doubt where they have a burden of proof.

I wouldn't say "nowhere even close", but I agree that their case isn't as good as they think it is. But that just means my reasoning doesn't come to the same conclusions as theirs. So the thing to do then is either go into our respective reasonings more deeply, or just agree to disagree and go our separate ways.

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In reality they serve only one function, which is not to convince a sceptic where they fail. They serve only the purpose of allaying doubt in the true believers mind, and the thinking about it is not critical thinking but only the notion that very clever and scholarly people with phd's from christian colleges have already researched and proven the bible to be true in every aspect. If a sceptic is unconvinced their heart is not right or hate god.

There is a lot of this, I agree. But there is also a lot of Christian apologetics from better thinkers (David Bentley Hart, for example) whose arguments do need to be taken seriously. But even with those who argue for Biblical inerrancy one needs -- if one is going to attack them -- to address their arguments, rather than just say "You are wrong, therefore your defense is just lawyerly bullshit".

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An apologist for anything is committed to denying opposing evidence or explaining it away.

Yes, there are apologists who are hypocritical. But there are also those who aren't. In either case, the way to respond is to deal with their arguments, not assume that their arguments are invalid because you don't like their conclusions.

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Christian apologetics fails to convince the open minded inquiry every time.

Not true. Many intelligent people have, through reason, moved from atheism/agnosticism to Christianity, and I can see no basis for judging them as any less open-minded than, say, I am.

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It requires a massive dose of FAITH to swallow.

Ashvin and I had a big debate on this. He claimed that his "leap of faith" was small and mine big, and I claimed the reverse. Which is to to say that your claim here is debatable.

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It is therefore not a matter of being surprised when the christian apologist defends his religion, but being unsurprised when he does NOT defend it where he can not. To make that list you only need to prevent simplified arguments. Again this appears lawyerly and unlike jesus own example of deigning to slum it with the lowly.

Jesus didn't have to defend his claims, being the Claim in person (or so a Christian would claim). But today we live in a pluralistic environment, with many different spiritual claims. Now you may dismiss all those who argue for their claims as lawyerly pedants, but that's better than just claiming, as you are doing here.

bob

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2013, 11:55:04 PM »
Ka
I do not think you can find a christian apologist who will say "I am open to the idea that christianity may be wrong, I am only a tentative apologist for christianity". Apolgetics is the business of looking for supporting arguments for your religion. That is exactly the same as a lawyer looking for supporting arguments for his prosecution or defence. Thinking about the truth of various belief sytstems does not equate to being an apologist. Otherwise one might say I dont belong to any religion although I am thinking about their merits, call me an apologist. You must be an apologist for something, you are committed to defending. That is not thinking about it as an objective seeker after truth.

I am of course aware you had long debates with ashvin and that the end outcome was predictable 20 pages in advance, would boil down to his needing to admit that apologetics fails to claim history and science in its proof and in the end relies on FAITH. LD, myself and others present exactly the same point in not as many words. Going into respective arguments more deeply as you say will have a predictable outcome, your own failure to be persuaded is case in point. I do not see why anyone else would reach a different conclusion.

As for "attacking" christian apologists rather than adressing their arguments, lets not pretend this discussion did not stem from the money and wealth to slavery and wholesale slaughter of midianites discussion. If you revisit that you will see that you have this backward and in fact the christian apologist fails to adress my overwhelming arguments. The jury verdict of the apologists submissions being lawyerly came after and not before he had finished his closing sticking strictly to script submissions, failing to adress the arguments against. I attacked the apologist arguments not the apologist and no defence was offered. This is of course lawyerly too, in that "anything you say may be used against you in a court of law", and you have the right to remain silent rather than incriminate yourself. At least you used to have that right.

Offline luciddreams

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2013, 07:51:28 AM »
For my part, I've been clear in the past here about where I stand.  To date I've yet to hear a Christian on this board say, "you're right, my belief in the Bible is based on nothing but faith."  That's all my point is, and I think yours too Bob.  Why is that so difficult for Ashvin to say?  You can't know until your dead.  Therefore you have to have faith...at least if your religion is based on a book you do.  And in the event you experience God, if the OMOG of Christianity came to you and said "the Bible is my book, it's not flawed by man, I wrote every word," then you could not expect other's to believe you.  At that point I'd be fine agreeing with you that you don't have faith...you simply know.  But at that point you have to believe I'm either going to be deleted (according to Ashvin), or I'll burn in hell.  And that's fine, but then you have to deal with me saying that your God is an evil god for creating those rules ;D

My point...spirituality is ultimately about faith...as is religion, and that is simply because until we die...what the hell do we know with certainty about the afterlife?  I've got a of opinions on the matter.  But nothing I would try to debate about to convince others that my ideas are right.  But that's because I'm honest with myself and others about the topic.  It starts and ends with faith.  Apologetics is fine if you start with the premise that ultimately it's a matter of faith.

Offline Ashvin

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2013, 09:12:47 AM »
Ka, I'm stunned at the combination of how articulate you have been about your basic point and how bob and LD still don't get it...

Quote from: LD
To date I've yet to hear a Christian on this board say, "you're right, my belief in the Bible is based on nothing but faith."  That's all my point is, and I think yours too Bob.  Why is that so difficult for Ashvin to say?

I would tell you that you're barking up on the wrong tree, but that would make me a huge hypocrite, seeing as how I have done it SO many times before.

Meanwhile, I'll just engage you a bit...

Quote from: Ka
Quote from: bob
Quote
Christianity claims specificity in truth.  Only Christianity is true is what Christianity claims. All beliefs that do this cause war.

First, that is changing. There are many pacifist Christians, after all, many who accept reincarnation or what have you. Second, that is not a valid argument against the alleged truth of Christianity. You don't like war, nor excessive specificity in dogma. But how do you know that there isn't a God that wants certain wars, or that this or that specific doctrine is not true?

I just read a very interesting article by NT Wright about "the Bible in the post-modern world". He starts of talking about the Western "modern" world, where reason and faith were artificially separated and philosophical naturalism ruled out the reasonable inquiry of anything that dealt with the supernatural, relegating spirituality to a matter of private belief. Here is an example of modernity as it relates to the Bible:

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When the so-called Jesus Seminar in California debated the resurrection of Jesus, and then went public with a press conference to announce that they had concluded that the resurrection didn't happen, as part of their evidence they brought in a young woman who worked in a mortuary in Los Angeles. She testified before the press that she worked all the time with dead bodies; and they always stayed dead! (This was supposed to be some kind of scientific revelation.) That is precisely part of the point of the Resurrection of Jesus-everyone else always stays dead when they die and Jesus didn't. (The incident illustrates that the Jesus Seminar is a relentlessly modernist movement, though not all its members are modernist.)

Since according to Reimarus 200 years ago, Jesus was actually a Galilean revolutionary (or whatever), the idea of his being 'the son of man', let alone the Son of God, let alone dying and rising for the sins of the world, must be the pious invention of the later church, on its way to the Constantinian enslavement of the world in religious superstition. (Notice the way in which the Enlightenment borrows at certain points therhetoric of the Reformation, while firmly rejecting its spiritual certainties). As for biblical ethics, within modernity they are quite simply out of date; an odd idea, one might suppose, to apply to an ethic, but there it is. Within this modernist context, the Bible is reduced in its public role to being read in the liturgy more as a piece of verbal wallpaper than anything dynamic, and in its private role to being read in order to inspire holy thoughts in individuals, which it might do, some would hope, irrespective of its truth-claims.

I think you agree with his sentiments here and the negative influence of "modernity" on spiritual inquiry. Then he goes on to talk about the transition to "post-modernity", most forcefully in the 1970s, which was largely a reaction to modernity but also a general attack on all forms of meta-narratives, including religious orthodoxy. I think this is where you and he (and I) would disagree the most. Here is the link and some selected excerpts, I'd like to know what your thoughts are. I do recommend reading the whole article at some point, if you want to know how he specifically thinks the historic understandings of the Bible meta-narrative can "fight back" in the post-modern world.

(on a side note, it seems that bob and LD's views are an... interesting... concoction of both modern and post-modern critiques of the historic Christian faith - i.e. "apologetics in spiritual matters is always pointless BS" and the tidy aphorism, "Christianity claims specificity and exclusivity, which always leads to horrendous things like war"...??)

(formatting is a bit screwy)

http://www.biblicaltheology.ca/blue_files/The%20Bible%20for%20the%20Post%20Modern%20World.pdf
Quote from: NTWright
The same is true, of course, with progress and enlightenment themselves: everybody's liberation turns out to be someone else's slavery, everybody's economic boom turns out to be at someone else's expense. So all our great stories, says postmodernity, our controlling narratives, are broken down into little stories: my story, your story, which may be 'authentic' in themselves ; this really is how we feel things, how we see things ; but which will almost certainly not impinge on one another. (This is fine, of course, if we live in cyberspace, where we can create our own virtual realities, accessed from our suburban sitting rooms, but it makes no sense at all where there are real lines drawn on real pieces of ground and human beings get shot if they cross them, or happen to be born the wrong side.)

This break-up of large narratives into little ones, philosophically, again goes back to Nietzsche, who offered collections of aphorisms as the appropriate way of describing the world. We can see the effect of this in some contemporary novels, which like 'The French Lieutenant's Woman,' offer a choice of endings according to the reader's mood, or which, like Julian Barnes' History of the World in Ten and a Half Chapters, offer no connected narrative at all, but only a succession of images, with, as he implies, the story like a raft adrift on an inhospitable ocean. It is interesting that in contemporary biblical studies some, not least those who have drunk deeply at the postmodern well, have preferred the hypothetical document 'Q' and the proto-gnostic document known as The Gospel of Thomas to the canonical gospels: precisely because they provide, after all, collections of detached sayings, instead of an over-arching story.

And the bottom line of postmodernity is the deconstruction of the individual. No longer are we the masters of our fate, the captains of our soul. We are each a mass of floating signifiers, impulses and impressions, changing all the time, reconstructing ourselves as we go along according to the stimuli we receive, the spin that comes our way. The 'meaning' of a book, a poem, a work of art is not something inherent in the thing itself, but shifts according to the readers. Who is to say there is any objective
meaning? If metanarratives are to be killed off, so are authors, whose intentions remain opaque behindthe text-and is there even a text, anyway?


...

But supposing we are not satisfied by having our use of the Bible conditioned by the present cultural climate? Supposing we are not convinced by the postmodern claims themselves, and not happy with thetruncation of a lively and evidently fruitful Christian tradition according to the Procrustean bed of postmodern theory?

There are several good reasons why we might either argue this point, or, in postmodern style, simply feel it. For a start, there are the inner contradictions within postmodernism itself at the level of theory. To say 'all truth is relative' only works if the statement, that all truth is relative, is itself exempt from its own generalization. (All truths are relative, except the statement that all truths are relative!) It has been pointed out often enough that we are an extremely moralistic society, even though the issues we are moralistic about are quite different from before. The person who loses their temper if someone criticizes their alternative sexual lifestyle will be equally angry with the farmer in the UK who hunts foxes to protect his chickens.

Even postmodernity's attack on all grand universal ideas becomes itself a grand universal idea; its polemic against all metanarratives becomes itself a new  metanarrative, a new Jack the Giantkiller, in which the bold young underdog hero (postmodernism) slays boring old Giant Modernism. For all it deplores big stories, great metanarratives, postmodernity has one itself. The death of the metanarrative is itself a metanarrative. Because belief in postmodernity is itself, eschatological. It is about a history that is going somewhere and when it gets somewhere then it finds cataclysm. It is a secular version of the old Götterdämmerung epic, the 'Twilight of the Gods' as in Wagner's opera; this too is a story.

...

Let me very quickly sketch out five ways in which this is so, laying foundations thereby for some of the points I want to make in my final section. Here as elsewhere, I am of course cutting several much longer stories very short indeed.

To begin with, the biblical metanarrative challenges paganism, and our neo-pagan world. From creation to recreation, from the call of Abraham to the New Jerusalem which comes down from heaven to earth, what the Bible offers presents itself as the truth of which paganism is the parody. Paganism sees the glory of creation, and worships creation instead of the creator. The grown-up version of this is of course pantheism, whether Stoicism in the ancient world or the varieties of New Age belief in the contemporary
world. The mirror-image of this is dualism, the belief that creation is the work of a lesser god or indeed an anti-god.
 
One of the remarkable things about the Bible is the way in which, from Genesis to Revelation, these options are systematically refused and undermined. There is one God, the creator; creation is good, but it is not God; the reality of evil in the world is not to be explained in terms either of an evil creation or an evil god, but is seen as an intrusion into the good creation, which is dealt with through the story of the chosen family. This biblical challenge to paganism, and indeed to dualism, is of course huge and basic; I presuppose it in all that follows.

Second, the biblical metanarrative challenges and subverts the worldview of philosophical Idealism, in which historical events are mere contingent trivia, and reality is to be found in a set of abstractions, whether timeless truths or absolute values. Any attempt to see the biblical stories as simply illustrations of such timeless truths or absolute values is confronted by the biblical text itself, in which the opposite is the case: the love of God, the justice of God, the forgiveness of God, and so forth are invoked not to draw attention away from the historical sphere but to give it meaning and depth. (The love of God, for example, is not just an abstract idea; it happened on the cross. The forgiveness of God is not just a nice theory; it what happened when Jesus was hanging there with nails in his hands and feet.) When Israel invokes the justice of her God, what she wants is to be liberated from her oppressive enemies. When the early Christians spoke of the love of God, they were referring to something that had happened in recent history, which had changed the way the real world-not just their real world, but the real world-actually was. If they weren't referring to this, they were, quite literally, talking nonsense.

This means, third, that the biblical metanarrative also challenges and subverts the non-storied aphoristic world both of the Gospel of Thomas and of contemporary postmodernity. (That is very relevant to contemporary debates about Jesus, not least with those who are most anxious in our own day to deconstruct what they see as the oppressive narrative and theology of the canonical gospels. They end up with a Jesus who functioned like a wandering Cynic, or perhaps a gnostic, whose whole raison-d'être was simply to utter striking, paradoxical and challenging aphorisms, challenging the existing socio-cultural order but offering simply a do-it-yourself way of constructing either one's relation to the outer world or one's inner religious world.)

...

The Enlightenment was not merely a return to a previous cultural golden age: now, all history was to be seen as leading up to the great climax of technological advance, historical and theological scepticism, political revolution and so forth, which were then to be implemented to dispel the long night of pre-enlightenment superstition and slavery. And these are rival eschatologies to Christianity, because Christianity tells a story about the world reaching its climax in Jesus of Nazareth. That is hard to
believe as we realise that the world isn't actually a better place. Paul said that the world had reached its climax in Jesus Christ-he was in prison much of the time so that he knew the world was not a better place! But he said God has already in Christ defeated the powers, and we are now working towards the implementation of that. That is too difficult for many, so they tell alternative eschatological stories. If the Biblical story is told truly, it will subvert the alternative stories. But to tell it truly, you have to be living it.

...

The biblical eschatology challenges all such rival eschatologies, with the strange news that world history actually reached its climax in the first century, in the Middle East, with the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Jewish Messiah, the Lord of the world. This is of course found by many today to be quite incredible, but this has always been because of the presence of rival and powerful countereschatologies. Now that these have collapsed or are collapsing, it is up to those who read the Bible and take it seriously to set about living by its eschatological message and so forming the community that cannot be deconstructed, because it is a community of love. This leads me to the final, and climactic, things I want to say today
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 09:25:23 AM by Ashvin »

bob

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2013, 10:49:34 AM »
Firstly
You inserted a quote attributed to me which belonged to LD.
Secondly
I get it alright. Every christian apologist debate will end with the result that belief in the bible relies on FAITH regardless of the odd snippet of provable fact. You have had several weeks long discussions with Ka which always in the end predictably boil down to a matter of faith, he has yet to convert to christianity by the persuasion. Googling faq's rather than thinking for yourself proves my point that the believer has  credulous faith in apologetics just as he has faith in the bible. Im sure you do not take the time to read these voluminous articles yourself or you would offer a precis of the salient points, perhaps you are afraid to read these through in case you realise they do not answer the sceptics faq and your own faith is undermined.


Offline Ashvin

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2013, 12:24:24 PM »
Firstly
You inserted a quote attributed to me which belonged to LD.

I did, sorry.

Quote
Secondly
I get it alright. Every christian apologist debate will end with the result that belief in the bible relies on FAITH regardless of the odd snippet of provable fact. You have had several weeks long discussions with Ka which always in the end predictably boil down to a matter of faith, he has yet to convert to christianity by the persuasion. Googling faq's rather than thinking for yourself proves my point that the believer has  credulous faith in apologetics just as he has faith in the bible. Im sure you do not take the time to read these voluminous articles yourself or you would offer a precis of the salient points, perhaps you are afraid to read these through in case you realise they do not answer the sceptics faq and your own faith is undermined.

See the paragraphs delineated by "..." and certain parts bolded? That's me offering "a precis of the salient points". The actual article is much longer and more detailed.

No, you still don't get it. Everyone uses apologetics in defense of a worldview, including you. If you have ever made a rational/logical argument in defense of a position, spiritual, economic, political or otherwise, then you have used apologetics. Ka was simply trying to point that out to you, as I have tried before. So the question is, why do you (and others here) find it so hard to accept people rationally defending their beliefs, when you do it yourself?

Offline Ka

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2013, 12:39:45 PM »
Ka
I do not think you can find a christian apologist who will say "I am open to the idea that christianity may be wrong, I am only a tentative apologist for christianity".

Are you open to the idea that fundamentalist Christianity may be true? Is your rejection of Biblical inerrancy tentative? Or are you, for now at least, committed to the notion that it is false? It is that commitment that I call faith. That is, in arguing against taking the Midianite story as an expression of God's will, you are working from a particular spiritual stance. So how are you not being an apologist for that stance?

Quote
Apolgetics is the business of looking for supporting arguments for your religion. That is exactly the same as a lawyer looking for supporting arguments for his prosecution or defence.

No, it is not exactly the same. A lawyer does not have to believe in his client's innocence to defend him. An apologist does. There are apologists for some positions, like defenders of the Iraq war as "fighting for democracy", who are not sincere. But in matters of religious faith, one must presuppose sincerity.

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Thinking about the truth of various belief sytstems does not equate to being an apologist. Otherwise one might say I dont belong to any religion although I am thinking about their merits, call me an apologist. You must be an apologist for something, you are committed to defending. That is not thinking about it as an objective seeker after truth.

I agree. But I am talking about after one has settled on some faith, which means rejecting many others. Faith has two opposites: one is skepticism -- before one has committed -- and the other is certainty -- after one has committed. If one is certain, one doesn't need faith, or arguments, or apologetics.

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I am of course aware you had long debates with ashvin and that the end outcome was predictable 20 pages in advance, would boil down to his needing to admit that apologetics fails to claim history and science in its proof and in the end relies on FAITH. LD, myself and others present exactly the same point in not as many words. Going into respective arguments more deeply as you say will have a predictable outcome, your own failure to be persuaded is case in point. I do not see why anyone else would reach a different conclusion.

The difference between my arguments with Ashvin, and yours (and LD's and others') is that you all never addressed his faith at the necessary level. See below.

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As for "attacking" christian apologists rather than adressing their arguments, lets not pretend this discussion did not stem from the money and wealth to slavery and wholesale slaughter of midianites discussion. If you revisit that you will see that you have this backward and in fact the christian apologist fails to adress my overwhelming arguments. The jury verdict of the apologists submissions being lawyerly came after and not before he had finished his closing sticking strictly to script submissions, failing to adress the arguments against. I attacked the apologist arguments not the apologist and no defence was offered. This is of course lawyerly too, in that "anything you say may be used against you in a court of law", and you have the right to remain silent rather than incriminate yourself. At least you used to have that right.

You think your arguments are overwhelming, but Ashvin obviously disagrees with that assessment, which doesn't get anywhere. Here's what you should be asking: why does Ashvin think that the OT reliably expresses the will of God in such events as the one with the Midianites? He has reasons for that. It is not the case that he just one day threw a dart and said "ok, from now on I will assume that everything in the Bible is true". Given that he does, he can find reasons for defending God in the Midianite story, just as you can find reasons for denying that the story reflects the will of God, and I tend to agree it is somewhat like lawyers debating -- except that both sides believe in what they are arguing about. But as to the over-arching belief -- in Biblical inerrancy -- I haven't seen anything from you or LD or RE or WHD that addresses his reasons for committing to it.

Offline Ka

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2013, 01:03:51 PM »
For my part, I've been clear in the past here about where I stand.  To date I've yet to hear a Christian on this board say, "you're right, my belief in the Bible is based on nothing but faith."  That's all my point is, and I think yours too Bob.  Why is that so difficult for Ashvin to say?

Because it is not true. See my last reply to Bob. He has reasons for committing to his faith, as do we all. Faith just is that commitment. It is the move from "maybe God exists" to praying to God, or "maybe the Buddha was right" to meditating on the self's emptiness.

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My point...spirituality is ultimately about faith...as is religion, and that is simply because until we die...what the hell do we know with certainty about the afterlife?  I've got a of opinions on the matter.  But nothing I would try to debate about to convince others that my ideas are right.

This is just saying that your faith and Ashvin's are different. His includes the requirement to proselytize, while yours doesn't. His includes the idea that when we die our afterlife fate is fixed, which is why he has the obligation to proselytize. Yours doesn't, so you don't need to. But the main thing I'm trying to say is that he has reasons for committing to his faith, just as you do. So it is simply false that for him it is "nothing but" faith, while for you the situation is different. It is the same for both: faith being a commitment to what reason says is most plausible, given that certainty is not available. It is his reasoning that you don't accept (and as far as I can see don't even know what it is, at least you haven't inquired into it).

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But that's because I'm honest with myself and others about the topic.  It starts and ends with faith.  Apologetics is fine if you start with the premise that ultimately it's a matter of faith.

It ends with faith, but doesn't start with it. There is no such thing as  "nothing but" faith, except with children, or those who never questioned the faith they were brought up in.


Offline WHD

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2013, 02:01:24 PM »
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But as to the over-arching belief -- in Biblical inerrancy -- I haven't seen anything from you or LD or RE or WHD that addresses his reasons for committing to it.

Ka,

I've made it plenty clear in other threads, why I think Ashvin has committed himself to Christianity, and the "inerrancy" of the Bible.

One, in these very uncertain times, Christianity appears to be a firm, lasting foundation to lash oneself too.

Two, the preeminence of Christianity as a worldview, makes it very attractive, by association.

Three, whenever one is uncertain, one can merely say "It is God's will," and all is psychologically well (?!).

Four, everything you need to know is right there in that Good Book, no need to confound oneself anymore making sense of Life.

Five, it lends an impenetrable sense of Righteousness.

Six, Christians stick together, making economic insecurity less of a concern.

Seven, the story is very attractive to one who looks at the world and sees evil everywhere, and little to no justice - cosmic retribution, so to speak.

Eight, Ashvin is a rigid absolutist, and there is no more greater Absolutism than the Monotheist perspective.

Nine, Ashvin is disconnected from the earth.

Ten, he has been seduced by OMOG.


Chief among Christian Apologetic's reasons for their certainty, IMO, has less to do with any inerrancy or divine nature of the Good Book, than that there are so many of them who believe it. The herd affect is a powerful one, for those willing accept the core beliefs, at the expense of their openness to the world as it is. And as long as Christians TELL themselves it's all about love, no amount of hypocrisy can shatter the faith, no amount of reason can sway their generalized lust for violence in the name of God. Let us not forget how readily and thirstily the Christian community on the whole supported the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld response to 9/11 - which may well have been the Cheney/Rumsfeld created 9/11.   

Which, I don't have any problem with Ashvin offering himself in service to God. My problem is with the damage he is doing to his brain and his soul, lawyering for the defense in the slaughter of innocents. My problem is that he is humorless and drear, and that makes all the most unsavory of Christian thinking - Original Sin, the earth as abode of Satan, the subordination of women - attractive to him. He's a bright young man who has associated himself with rigid, stultifying orthodoxy.

Offline Eddie

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2013, 02:30:47 PM »
Pardon my ignorance, but what does OMOG stand for?
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline WHD

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Re: Faith and Reason, again
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2013, 02:36:34 PM »
Pardon my ignorance, but what does OMOG stand for?

One Male Omniscient God - the usurper, for whom violence is Sacred, and the Goddess (the earth) and those who hold Her dear are to be destroyed.

 

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