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Of course I would not expect an atheist to be an expert in New Testament scholarship, medieval church history or Catholic moral theology.

Ah yes, the 'sophisticated theology' argument.  Unfortunately this always regresses back to 'mysterious ways' when pressed.  And, really, shouldn't the omnimax creator of the universe (who states explicitly his main goal is to have a relationship with us) have figured out a simple, elegant and obvious way of communicating with us?

Oh yes in response(more or less) to my post:

 So tell me, what’s the polite way to inform someone that their entire life has been centered around a delusion? A delusion that tells people the an all powerful invisible being had to sacrifice himself, to himself(but only for a long weekend), in order to avoid his own wrath again his own creations that he made in full knowledge they weren’t going to live up to his own standards.
we get:
The way you’ve re-stated the theory of the atonement is not totally wrong per se, but it is the reductio ad absurdam tactic: reduce things to a ridiculous minimalistic statement so you can dismiss it. This can be done with anything: to continue my football analogy I could say, “Geesh, people pay good money to watch eleven men in tight pants running around a field knocking each other senseless to chase a piece of inflated pigskin across a white line on the ground?” If someone explained football like that you’d rightly dismiss him as not a serious debater.

Reductio ad absurdam may be used as a rhetorical device when attempting satirical comment however, when an assertion is made without qualifiers or reference to verifiable evidence, ignorance may be assumed to exist. That ‘ignorance’ is a perjorative term is not necessarily a factor to be considered objectively because of the connotative valuations of all linguistic capabilities. Read Florsheim “Connatotive Judgements in Logical Assertions within the Assumption of Negative Capabilities” (Journal of Linguistic Analysis, v.12, p.442. cf. Coggins. 1953) That linguistic limitations within normal cognitive associations are at times misconstrued and that objective valuations of ‘terminology’ are often relativized is, of course, a conclusion that can at times be made while one would not wish to be definitive in an exclusive or a mandatory methodology. Should a negative construction be placed upon objectively valid terminology which was used by the denotator to the receiver of the communication is to be regretted but not necessarily obviated because this may be a prelude to a reconsideration of the truth claims that are being made–albeit in a dogmatic and unproductive process.

Which I think translates to: Stop being so bluntly honest and ignoring our flowery vague language of misdirection.

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Traveler Nodding head and smiling ... July 23, 2012, 11:29:46 PM