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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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An open letter to my fellow Theists
« on: February 22, 2014, 02:30:49 PM »
After having watched what has laughingly been referred to as a “debate” between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, I felt obligated to direct a comment or two at my fellow theists who subscribe to Creationism and Evangelicism.

First, a word about divine revelation:

As Christians we believe that we have a divine revelation. As I’m fond of quoting, Adler said:

“would god have revealed to us, anything that we could normally think by ourselves? No, it’d be a waste of time wouldn’t it? What God revealed is something that we can’t understand very well.” 

In other words, divine revelation is by nature, information that we cannot normally think by ourselves and is difficult to understand. The incarnation, the trinity, the resurrection, these are all good examples.

Matthew. 21:17, for example, is not a divine revelation.

The genealogies in Genesis were not put there in order for us to know how old the earth is, they were a chronicle of a particular family line.

The authors of the book of Genesis had no curiosity about the age of the earth or how organisms developed on this planet,  and more to the point, we don’t NEED a divine revelation in order to know those things. The age of the earth and the way that species develop on it are things that we can normally think by ourselves. We do not need divine help to understand them or to know them. 
 

Secondly, the most glaring objection that any reasonable person, theistic or non-theistic; should have to Creationism is the premise, however, the crux of the underlying premise is often misunderstood by both sides.

The first errant assumption made by Creationism is that “The origin of species” and the theory of evolution in general is an attempt to discredit the book of Genesis. I know this may be hard for Evangelicals to accept, but scientists have better things to do with their time than shake their fists at your beliefs all day. An attempt was made by the institution of science to discern the best, most demonstrable explanation for how organisms developed on this planet and the conclusion was Darwinian evolution and natural selection. I hate to be so harsh about it, but the results just happened to contradict a legalistic, literal reading of the book of Genesis as well as numerous other Creation stories. I am truly sorry that Evangelicals and literalists are factually and scientifically obliged to admit that they have “faith”, as opposed to a Swiss army book that answers every question and points to their perpetual correctitude, but that’s just the way it goes. 

Again, I don't mean to be rude, but the theory of evolution is not the theory that there is no God, it just happens to fly in the face the incredibly solipsistic nature of modern Evangelical thought and understanding of scripture.

Thank you.



« Last Edit: February 22, 2014, 02:34:59 PM by Philosopher_at_large »
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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2014, 07:22:54 PM »
After having watched what has laughingly been referred to as a “debate” between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, I felt obligated to direct a comment or two at my fellow theists who subscribe to Creationism and Evangelicism.

First, a word about divine revelation:

As Christians we believe that we have a divine revelation. As I’m fond of quoting, Adler said:

“would god have revealed to us, anything that we could normally think by ourselves? No, it’d be a waste of time wouldn’t it? What God revealed is something that we can’t understand very well.” 

In other words, divine revelation is by nature, information that we cannot normally think by ourselves and is difficult to understand. The incarnation, the trinity, the resurrection, these are all good examples.

How do you know those are divine revelation, and not Hanuman carrying the mountain, or Shu separating the material (Geb) from the heavenly (Nut) in order to make a space for the realm of manifestation?  Also, for the vast majority of human history, the facts revealed to us by modern science were too difficult for people to figure out.  Trinities, incarnations, and resurrections already existed in ancient Egyptian theology, so apparently those didn't need to be divinely revealed either.
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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2014, 10:41:39 PM »
How do you know those are divine revelation, and not

I gotta stop you right there. I wasn't comparing any religious dogma with any other, I was addressing Christians because they are the ones who came up with "Creationism".

Were I addressing any other religious group, I would have named the revelations that they adhere to.



Also, for the vast majority of human history, the facts revealed to us by modern science were too difficult for people to figure out.
And  we didn't need any divine help to arrive at them.   

« Last Edit: February 22, 2014, 11:40:33 PM by Philosopher_at_large »
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Offline Billrabara

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2014, 06:31:09 AM »
"The authors of the book of Genesis had no curiosity about the age of the earth or how organisms developed on this planet,  and more to the point, we don’t NEED a divine revelation in order to know those things. The age of the earth and the way that species develop on it are things that we can normally think by ourselves. We do not need divine help to understand them or to know them"


But Ham does not accept the claim that we can figure out, without divine intervention,  both the age of the universe and the origin of species. 

Offline Xero-Kill

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2014, 10:30:53 AM »
"The authors of the book of Genesis had no curiosity about the age of the earth or how organisms developed on this planet,  and more to the point, we don’t NEED a divine revelation in order to know those things. The age of the earth and the way that species develop on it are things that we can normally think by ourselves. We do not need divine help to understand them or to know them"


But Ham does not accept the claim that we can figure out, without divine intervention,  both the age of the universe and the origin of species.

That sounds like Ham's problem. Just because he is small and limited doesn't mean human potential is just as small and limited... he just got the short end of the stick. Sucks to be him. How anyone can listen to Ham and conclude that he holds any understanding is just mind boggling.

P.S. There is an FAQ regarding the use of the quote function. It really helps the flow of discussion.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2014, 10:36:55 AM »
In other words, divine revelation is by nature, information that we cannot normally think by ourselves and is difficult to understand. The incarnation, the trinity, the resurrection, these are all good examples.

But surely, everything there is was created by god, and we were created by god with specific mental capabailities.  So if divine revelation is hard to understand, is that not specifically due to god's deliberate choice for it to BE hard to understand?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2014, 08:55:16 PM »
In other words, divine revelation is by nature, information that we cannot normally think by ourselves and is difficult to understand. The incarnation, the trinity, the resurrection, these are all good examples.

But surely, everything there is was created by god, and we were created by god with specific mental capabailities.  So if divine revelation is hard to understand, is that not specifically due to god's deliberate choice for it to BE hard to understand?

No, the limitations is ours. The infinite talking to the finite is a massive jump across a bridge.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2014, 03:33:01 AM »
In other words, divine revelation is by nature, information that we cannot normally think by ourselves and is difficult to understand. The incarnation, the trinity, the resurrection, these are all good examples.

But surely, everything there is was created by god, and we were created by god with specific mental capabailities.  So if divine revelation is hard to understand, is that not specifically due to god's deliberate choice for it to BE hard to understand?

No, the limitations is ours. The infinite talking to the finite is a massive jump across a bridge.

We may have the limitations.  But that is not our fault.

The believer asserts that the infinite CREATED the finite, in every respect.  If the finite cannot "jump the bridge" as a result of the way it was created, then that is the fault of the creator.

It's like giving me potatoes and then complaining if I can't make carrot soup: the failure to acheive the right soup is down to whoever gave me the wrong vegetables.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline jdawg70

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2014, 10:27:10 AM »
In other words, divine revelation is by nature, information that we cannot normally think by ourselves and is difficult to understand. The incarnation, the trinity, the resurrection, these are all good examples.

Do you have a way to differentiate between information that is difficult to understand due to divine revelation (e.g. the Trinity, the resurrection) and information that is difficult to understand due to incorrectness (e.g. invisible red strings of fate, the Book of Mormon)?
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2014, 03:30:49 PM »
In other words, divine revelation is by nature, information that we cannot normally think by ourselves and is difficult to understand. The incarnation, the trinity, the resurrection, these are all good examples.

But surely, everything there is was created by god, and we were created by god with specific mental capabailities.  So if divine revelation is hard to understand, is that not specifically due to god's deliberate choice for it to BE hard to understand?

No, the limitations is ours. The infinite talking to the finite is a massive jump across a bridge.

We may have the limitations.  But that is not our fault.

The believer asserts that the infinite CREATED the finite, in every respect.  If the finite cannot "jump the bridge" as a result of the way it was created, then that is the fault of the creator.

It's like giving me potatoes and then complaining if I can't make carrot soup: the failure to acheive the right soup is down to whoever gave me the wrong vegetables.

I thin this represents a mistake made by many people, theist and non theist alike, who contemplate God. God is not (or should not be viewed as) a "magical" being who can do anything. If god exists and created beings that had a completely different nature from its own, then those are the terms upon which it must communicate with those creatures.

the word "fault" doesn't apply in this case. The fact that I can't directly instruct my cat that the needle is for its own good isn't the cat's "fault" or mine, it's a consequence of the fact that I and the cat are of different levels of intelligence and have different means of communication.
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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2014, 03:35:25 PM »
In other words, divine revelation is by nature, information that we cannot normally think by ourselves and is difficult to understand. The incarnation, the trinity, the resurrection, these are all good examples.

Do you have a way to differentiate between information that is difficult to understand due to divine revelation (e.g. the Trinity, the resurrection) and information that is difficult to understand due to incorrectness (e.g. invisible red strings of fate, the Book of Mormon)?

I don't think that's an accurate dichotomy. Plenty of incorrect things are easy to understand.

My point here is that a divine revelation is by definition, something that we can't understand very well; not that anything difficult to understand is a divine revelation.

That being said, this was directed at believers and I doubt that any of them would argue that a divine revelation is something that we are perfectly capable of understanding, thinking or learning on our own. and if they do, I'd like to know why they think that.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 03:37:51 PM by Philosopher_at_large »
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2014, 04:34:08 PM »
Do you have a way to differentiate between information that is difficult to understand due to divine revelation (e.g. the Trinity, the resurrection) and information that is difficult to understand due to incorrectness (e.g. invisible red strings of fate, the Book of Mormon)?

I don't think that's an accurate dichotomy. Plenty of incorrect things are easy to understand.

I agree with this.

Quote
My point here is that a divine revelation is by definition, something that we can't understand very well; not that anything difficult to understand is a divine revelation.

Well I guess what I've put in bold above is my point.  I mean, nonsense is also, by definition, something we can't understand very well.  Of things that are difficult to understand (the Trinity, transubstantiation, invisible red strings of fate, karmic enlightenment, body thetans), do you have a way to differentiate between that which is difficult due to it's divine nature or difficult due to it being wrong (i.e. nonsensical)?

Perhaps to be more blunt: how do I determine if something is bullsh*t or divine information?

Imagine a bucket containing a large amount of nonsensical information.  Now, from your perspective, some of that nonsensical information is incorrect (e.g. the world was created 6,000 years ago with all species more or less existent in their current form), and some of that nonsensical information is correct (e.g. god is three persons in one, each with a simultaneous independent and non-independent existence).  And, of course, there are some other bits in this bucket such as invisible red strings of fate and 'the human essence is comprised of multiple 'body thetans', which are essentially bits of souls from aliens'.

How do you tell which is which?

Quote
That being said, this was directed at believers and I doubt that any of them would argue that a divine revelation is something that we are perfectly capable of understanding, thinking or learning on our own. and if they do, I'd like to know why they think that.

I'd be interested in that too.
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Online SevenPatch

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2014, 04:57:19 PM »
We may have the limitations.  But that is not our fault.

The believer asserts that the infinite CREATED the finite, in every respect.  If the finite cannot "jump the bridge" as a result of the way it was created, then that is the fault of the creator.

It's like giving me potatoes and then complaining if I can't make carrot soup: the failure to acheive the right soup is down to whoever gave me the wrong vegetables.

I think this represents a mistake made by many people, theist and non theist alike, who contemplate God. God is not (or should not be viewed as) a "magical" being who can do anything. If god exists and created beings that had a completely different nature from its own, then those are the terms upon which it must communicate with those creatures.

the word "fault" doesn't apply in this case. The fact that I can't directly instruct my cat that the needle is for its own good isn't the cat's "fault" or mine, it's a consequence of the fact that I and the cat are of different levels of intelligence and have different means of communication.

Not that I don't understand what you're saying, but you didn't create the cat.

If the word "fault" doesn't apply then I assume you don't believe that "God" would find fault in someone not believing any god or gods exist.

How far does the "God" not finding fault go though I wonder?  I would argue that a good "God" who created the universe and everything in the universe would not find fault with any of its creation.  Sure, "God" may not like certain things but if this "God" is good, it would only fault itself for the bad.

To quote Stan Lee "with great power comes great responsibility". 
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2014, 05:31:06 PM »
I thin this represents a mistake made by many people, theist and non theist alike, who contemplate God. God is not (or should not be viewed as) a "magical" being who can do anything. If god exists and created beings that had a completely different nature from its own, then those are the terms upon which it must communicate with those creatures.

So why create beings with a completely different nature from its own - so different that communication is extremely difficult for him to accomplish - if he wants any kind of relationship with these creations?  Did god not have a choice in the nature of his creations?

Does god even want any kind of relationship with these creations?
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2014, 05:44:15 PM »
I thin this represents a mistake made by many people, theist and non theist alike, who contemplate God. God is not (or should not be viewed as) a "magical" being who can do anything. If god exists and created beings that had a completely different nature from its own, then those are the terms upon which it must communicate with those creatures.

So why create beings with a completely different nature from its own - so different that communication is extremely difficult for him to accomplish - if he wants any kind of relationship with these creations?  Did god not have a choice in the nature of his creations?

When we ask the question "Why did god create anything?" We are supposing that there is a god, that god is a being and that creation was an act of will on the part of that being. Since we are necessarily talking about a hypothetical being whose nature is vastly different than ours, I'm not sure that it's possible to answer that kind of question.

Any answer will leave the questioner unsatisfied, But that would be the case weather God existed or not.

This is why fundamentalists and literalists try so hard to shoehorn continuity into the bible. They can't accept that metaphysical propositions are necessarily mysterious.
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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2014, 06:03:28 PM »
Well I guess what I've put in bold above is my point.  I mean, nonsense is also, by definition, something we can't understand very well.  Of things that are difficult to understand (the Trinity, transubstantiation, invisible red strings of fate, karmic enlightenment, body thetans), do you have a way to differentiate between that which is difficult due to it's divine nature or difficult due to it being wrong (i.e. nonsensical)?

Perhaps to be more blunt: how do I determine if something is bullsh*t or divine information?

Imagine a bucket containing a large amount of nonsensical information.  Now, from your perspective, some of that nonsensical information is incorrect (e.g. the world was created 6,000 years ago with all species more or less existent in their current form), and some of that nonsensical information is correct (e.g. god is three persons in one, each with a simultaneous independent and non-independent existence).  And, of course, there are some other bits in this bucket such as invisible red strings of fate and 'the human essence is comprised of multiple 'body thetans', which are essentially bits of souls from aliens'.

First: I would never say that the phrase: "god is three persons in one, each with a simultaneous independent and non-independent existence" is "correct". I would say that, based on my own subjective experience, in keeping with my epistemological view, that is what I believe.

I think that this is as far as a believer can go when talking about their faith. 

I DO think that divine revelation is, by definition; difficult for understand, that is to say, that if there were a god who was a being, there would be no point in it revealing anything to us that we could normally think by our selves.

Second: stop me if you've heard this one....

"How do two porcupines have sex?"

Answer; "Very carefully".

There is a book by Adler called "Truth in religion"  that, I think, helps to answer that question. he talks about some of that here: but I highly recommend reading the book its self in order make up ones mind.

*EDIT I linked part 2 of a 3 part series not knowing that it would post the video on this page, and thinking that it was part one and that the viewer might watch all 3 parts. Oh well, just watch all 3 parts if you like.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2014, 06:10:25 PM by Philosopher_at_large »
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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2014, 06:19:58 PM »
We may have the limitations.  But that is not our fault.

The believer asserts that the infinite CREATED the finite, in every respect.  If the finite cannot "jump the bridge" as a result of the way it was created, then that is the fault of the creator.

It's like giving me potatoes and then complaining if I can't make carrot soup: the failure to acheive the right soup is down to whoever gave me the wrong vegetables.

I think this represents a mistake made by many people, theist and non theist alike, who contemplate God. God is not (or should not be viewed as) a "magical" being who can do anything. If god exists and created beings that had a completely different nature from its own, then those are the terms upon which it must communicate with those creatures.

the word "fault" doesn't apply in this case. The fact that I can't directly instruct my cat that the needle is for its own good isn't the cat's "fault" or mine, it's a consequence of the fact that I and the cat are of different levels of intelligence and have different means of communication.

Not that I don't understand what you're saying, but you didn't create the cat.

If the word "fault" doesn't apply then I assume you don't believe that "God" would find fault in someone not believing any god or gods exist.

How far does the "God" not finding fault go though I wonder?  I would argue that a good "God" who created the universe and everything in the universe would not find fault with any of its creation.  Sure, "God" may not like certain things but if this "God" is good, it would only fault itself for the bad.

To quote Stan Lee "with great power comes great responsibility".

I do NOT believe that god (if it exists) would find fault in a person not believing in it.

You're right to say that I didn't create the cat, but the inference is that if there were a god and that god could create, it should have created its self over and over again. I don't think that's possible let alone desirable.

To your third point, that pertains to culpability, of which I think we (human beings) have very little.
"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2014, 07:47:44 AM »
I do NOT believe that god (if it exists) would find fault in a person not believing in it.

Then you are in a very small minority of theists, I'm afraid.  Certainly its a very small minority of those who would cite the Bible, who would say "belief is not an issue for my god".

You're right to say that I didn't create the cat, but the inference is that if there were a god and that god could create, it should have created its self over and over again. I don't think that's possible let alone desirable.

Depends whether the goal of the god is to successfully impart whatever this revelation is to its creation.  Because what you are saying is:

God created beings.
God has a revelation he wants to impart to these beings.
It is impossible for the revelation (created by god) to be understood by the beings (also created by god).
God will not fault the beings for not understanding or receiving the revelations.

I can, therefore, only conclude that whatever these revelations are, they are of extremely limited importance.  If I have no chance of understanding them, and god doesn't care if I understand them, then I can quite happily ignore them, yes?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2014, 08:25:30 AM »
When we ask the question "Why did god create anything?"

nobody asked that question.  You are answering a question you asked yourself and evading the one that was asked by jdawg.  Shabby work, old bean.  Go back and give it another try.

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Offline wheels5894

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2014, 11:02:47 AM »
In other words, divine revelation is by nature, information that we cannot normally think by ourselves and is difficult to understand. The incarnation, the trinity, the resurrection, these are all good examples.

But surely, everything there is was created by god, and we were created by god with specific mental capabilities.  So if divine revelation is hard to understand, is that not specifically due to god's deliberate choice for it to BE hard to understand?



No, the limitations is ours. The infinite talking to the finite is a massive jump across a bridge.

We may have the limitations.  But that is not our fault.

The believer asserts that the infinite CREATED the finite, in every respect.  If the finite cannot "jump the bridge" as a result of the way it was created, then that is the fault of the creator.

It's like giving me potatoes and then complaining if I can't make carrot soup: the failure to acheive the right soup is down to whoever gave me the wrong vegetables.

I thin this represents a mistake made by many people, theist and non theist alike, who contemplate God. God is not (or should not be viewed as) a "magical" being who can do anything. If god exists and created beings that had a completely different nature from its own, then those are the terms upon which it must communicate with those creatures.

the word "fault" doesn't apply in this case. The fact that I can't directly instruct my cat that the needle is for its own good isn't the cat's "fault" or mine, it's a consequence of the fact that I and the cat are of different levels of intelligence and have different means of communication.

Forgive me if I am wrong, but I understood that, straight after creating people, god chatted to Adam and even let him name all the animals. Then, after a little surgery, the same god spoke to Adam and Eve and , later the snake as well. They had conversations. Adam and Eve were people like us and this god could chat with them. So, why on earth so we have this infinite / finite bridge thing? If the infinite god can chat with Adam he could just as easily chat with Wheels5894 or Screwtape. He obviously doesn't need and help or have the slightest problem with talking to finite people.......

.... well, that, or he doesn't exist so would have communication problems.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2014, 04:05:56 AM »
Forgive me if I am wrong, but I understood that, straight after creating people, god chatted to Adam and even let him name all the animals. ..... If the infinite god can chat with Adam he could just as easily chat with Wheels5894 or Screwtape. He obviously doesn't need and help or have the slightest problem with talking to finite people.......

Thing is, PAL is a loooong way from your average Christian.  He doesn't believe there is any judgement for non-belief, and (apparently) doesn't believe in the Genesis story or that god communicated directly with any of his creation......so, I'm presuming that the Ten Commandments also don't fall into his spehere of belief - because they were a clear and direct communication, which he does not believe is possible.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2014, 08:21:53 AM »
Yes, the fact that PAL's beliefs don't insist on taking the Bible literally, or eternal damnation for nonbelievers do make them easier to swallow on the one hand, but also make them seem vague enough that they are hard to debate.

Where do you stand on god's making mankind in his own image, PAL? Obviously it's not a physical image, and if it is spiritual, even though god's intelligence is so much higher, wouldn't that still allow for communication on SOME level?

Offline wheels5894

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2014, 10:07:54 AM »
 Of course there is an obvious problem coming up here - if PAL doesn't accept as fact the story of A and E, and he has every reason to do so, then we could well be left with the extreme difficulty that god had never spoken to anyone. Clearly atheists feel this makes sense but, for the theist, if god had never spoken to anyone the question has to be asked as to how they know there is a god at all since a non-speaking god and a non-existing god sound the same as each other.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline jdawg70

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2014, 04:36:31 PM »
First: I would never say that the phrase: "god is three persons in one, each with a simultaneous independent and non-independent existence" is "correct". I would say that, based on my own subjective experience, in keeping with my epistemological view, that is what I believe.

I think that this is as far as a believer can go when talking about their faith. 

I guess I just need to ask this then:

Do you believe that god exists outside of your mind?
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
- Eddie Izzard

Offline jdawg70

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2014, 04:38:29 PM »
When we ask the question "Why did god create anything?"

nobody asked that question.  You are answering a question you asked yourself and evading the one that was asked by jdawg.  Shabby work, old bean.  Go back and give it another try.

screwtape is right - your answer doesn't really address my point at all.

When we ask the question "Why did god create anything?" We are supposing that there is a god, that god is a being and that creation was an act of will on the part of that being. Since we are necessarily talking about a hypothetical being whose nature is vastly different than ours, I'm not sure that it's possible to answer that kind of question.

Any answer will leave the questioner unsatisfied, But that would be the case weather God existed or not.

This is why fundamentalists and literalists try so hard to shoehorn continuity into the bible. They can't accept that metaphysical propositions are necessarily mysterious.

Do you think that, maybe, you're trying to shoehorn the existence of a god-entity into actual reality?
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
- Eddie Izzard

Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2014, 12:33:26 PM »
First: I would never say that the phrase: "god is three persons in one, each with a simultaneous independent and non-independent existence" is "correct". I would say that, based on my own subjective experience, in keeping with my epistemological view, that is what I believe.

I think that this is as far as a believer can go when talking about their faith. 

I guess I just need to ask this then:

Do you believe that god exists outside of your mind?

Yes, but that's more like my belief that I love my wife, or that everything happens for a reason, it isn't verifiable in the way that scientific claims are verifiable.
"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

Offline jdawg70

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2014, 11:47:09 AM »
First: I would never say that the phrase: "god is three persons in one, each with a simultaneous independent and non-independent existence" is "correct". I would say that, based on my own subjective experience, in keeping with my epistemological view, that is what I believe.

I think that this is as far as a believer can go when talking about their faith. 

I guess I just need to ask this then:

Do you believe that god exists outside of your mind?

Yes, but that's more like my belief that I love my wife, or that everything happens for a reason, it isn't verifiable in the way that scientific claims are verifiable.

If I said that I believed that Elvis was alive and well in Passaic, NJ, would you be satisfied if I said the claim was beyond scientific inquiry?

My point is that I really don't have a good way to differentiate 'claims about reality that are beyond scientific inquiry' and 'claims about fantasy that are beyond scientific inquiry'.  The nature of Hogwarts is beyond scientific inquiry, but that's because it's a fictional place.  The effect of a lightsaber on adamantium is beyond scientific inquiry, but that's because it's a fictional place.  The number of turtles holding the Earth in place is beyond scientific inquiry, but that's because it's a fictional concept.  The existence of invisible red strings of fate is beyond scientific inquiry, but that's because they are fictional objects.

I guess...what exactly is it about a god that exists in shared, objective reality that is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving with a vested interest in human affairs that is beyond scientific inquiry?  Or, more specifically, why is such an entity's existence a question that is beyond scientific inquiry?
"When we landed on the moon, that was the point where god should have come up and said 'hello'. Because if you invent some creatures, put them on the blue one and they make it to the grey one, you f**king turn up and say 'well done'."
- Eddie Izzard

Offline dloubet

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Re: An open letter to my fellow Theists
« Reply #27 on: May 27, 2014, 09:20:02 PM »
In other words, divine revelation is by nature, information that we cannot normally think by ourselves and is difficult to understand. The incarnation, the trinity, the resurrection, these are all good examples.

Except that's exactly what you would expect someone trying to bamboozle you to say.
Denis Loubet