Wednesday, February 22, 2017

see new fact sheet on Resistance is not Futile

The Super Essential-Godhead (God is 'Being Itself")

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Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (around 500AD)







Most people tend to think of God s a big man on a throne. They judge God by human standards. Like Dawkins argument that God would be more complex than his universe and thus less likely to exit. This is based entirely upon the idea that God is a magnified version of humanity. When I point this out atheists  scoff and insist that most people see God this way we Christian apologists have to as well. When I point out that Paul Tillich had this totally different view of God as being itself they insist that this is not a Christian concept.

Paul Tillich the great theologian of the 20th century, was most noted for his seemly radical idea that God is "Being itself" or the ground of being, just what that means is very hard to put into words. Essentially it means that God is not a being but the basis of what  being is, being itself. There are no good analogies but the best I've come up with is like the difference between architecture and a single house. It is not a house but the basis upon which houses are built. This is important as a distinction because atheists are always trying to judge God by human standards to treat God as though he just magnified humanity. All of the criticisms they make of religious belief revolve around the notion of God as a big man. The true Christian concept of God is more than that; and this the  "true Christian concept" because it is the view of the Orthodox church from a time before the split with the West. Most commentators on Tillich wont say this but I think I have an original observation that Tillich was trying to translate Dionysus the Areopagite into existentialism. That is to say ancinet neo-Platonism into modern existentialism. Notice the similarity in the ideas: compare this with last post.

Dionysus The Areopagite (500)


The Author claims to be Paul’s companion in Acts, but due to the almost complete infusion of neo-Platonism throughout the text, the writings have been placed near the end of the fourth or early part of the fifth century. This is largely due to the influence of pagan philosophers Proclus (lecturing in Athens around 430 AD). The true name of the author is unknown he was probably a monk, believed to have lived in Syria. His writings have been extremely influential; he in essence kicked of the whole tradition of Christian mysticism. He founds the basic foundation for Gregory and Eastern Orthodox figures quoted above. The ideas of “Pseudo Dionysus” as he is most often known in the west, are set down in a long introduction by the translator Clearance Edwin Rolt. Rolt died at thirty-seven and this was his only book, but he had been hailed as one of the finest scholars ever produced by Queens College. Thus I think it only fair that we quote from the man himself. The major concept in which turns all Dionysus has to say is daubed by Rolt as the Super Essential Godhead:

The basis of their teaching is the doctrine of the Super-Essential Godhead (ὑπερούσιος θεαρχία). We must, therefore, at the very outset fix the meaning of this term. Now the word “Essence” or “Being” (οὐσία) means almost invariably an individual existence; more especially a person, since such is the highest type that individual existence can in this world assume. And, in fact, like the English word “Being,” it may without qualification be used to mean an angel. Since, then, the highest connotation of the term “Essence” or “Being” is a person, it follows that by “Super-Essence” is intended “Supra-Personality.” And hence the doctrine of the Super-Essential Godhead simply means that God is, in His ultimate Nature, Supra-Personal.


Now an individual person is one who distinguishes himself from the rest of the world. I am a person because I can say: “I am I and I am not you.” Personality thus consists in the faculty of knowing oneself to be one individual among others. And thus, by its very nature, Personality is (on one side of its being, at least) a finite thing. The very essence of my personal state lies in the fact that I am not the whole universe but a member thereof.

God, on the other hand, is Supra-Personal because He is infinite. He is not one Being among others, but in His ultimate nature dwells on a plane where there is nothing whatever beside Himself. The only kind of consciousness we may attribute to Him is what can but be described as an Universal Consciousness. He does not distinguish Himself from us; for were we caught up on to that level we should be wholly transformed into Him. And yet we distinguish between ourselves and Him because from our lower plane of finite Being we look up and see that ultimate level beyond us. The Super-Essential Godhead is, in fact, precisely that which modern philosophy describes as the Absolute. Behind the diversities of this world there must be an Ultimate Unity. And this Ultimate Unity must contain in an undifferentiated condition all the riches of consciousness, life, and existence which are dispersed in broken fragments throughout the world. Yet It is not a particular Consciousness or a particular Existence. It is certainly not Unconscious, Dead or, in the ordinary sense, non-Existent, for all these terms imply something below instead of above the states to which they are opposed.

We can see in that description several features which correspond to the things Tillich says. One interesting discussion that I close before it is started is the “personal” aspects. I am saving that discussion for its own chapter on Being itself and consciousness. The first point of interest is the connection between being and essence. He defines ousia as either one. Ousia of course is the root words of homoousios. Rolt confirms Tillich’s view in saying that essence refers to a particular existence, but the Super Essential is in contrast to an individual person. God is beyond the consciousness of an individual, but is in fact a universal consciousness that is in all things and can identify with all beings. I’ve already dealt with Tillich’s nix on pantheism; this is not a pantheistic idea. Yet in defining it Rolt deals with many of the aspects of God as being iself expressed by Tillich. God is infinite, God is not one person among others, transcendent of all we know and dwells on a plane beyond our understanding. The term “Super Essential” can be understood as “ground of being” or “Being itself.” They are basically saying the same thing. The Greek phrase he uses for “Super-Essential Godhead” is ‘humperusios Thearkia: Super means “over” or “transcendent” a structure over something else, such as “superstructure.” Thearkia is commonly the term in the NT for “Godhead.” What is being communicated is the notion of transcendence but also the transcendental signifier, the overview to the ordering of meaning and order, that is equivalent to the concept of a ground, of course as pointed out, essential has an affinity with being. Thus we could as well translate it “ground of being.” The concept of God as “Ground of Being” is the concept of “Super Essential” God. I don’t suggest that “ground” would be a good translation as translations go, but I do think it’s hinting at the same idea.

Pseudo Dionysius himself begins by embracing the vita negative, God is beyond our understanding, we don’t try to say what God is, we experience what God is (mystical union) we say what God is not and infer from that the truth, except where we are given clear understanding in Scripture. “We must not then dare to speak, or indeed to form any conception of the hidden Super-Essential Godhead, except those things that are revealed to us from the Holy Scriptures. For a Super-Essential understanding of it is proper to unknowning which lieth at the Super-Essence thereof surpassing discourse, intuition, and Being.” The translator capitalizes being.

The one who is beyond thought surpasses the apprehension of thought; the good which is beyond utterance surpasses the reach of words. Yea, it is a unity which is the unifying source of all unity and a Super-Essential Essence, a Mind beyond the reach of mind and Word beyond utterance, Eluding Discourse, intuition, Name and every kind of being. It is the universal cause of existence while itself existing not for it is beyond all being and such that it alone could give, with proper understanding thereof, a revelation of itself.(52)

Notice that this appears to be where Tillich obtains his usage of the term “existence,” and the distinction that God does not exist. What is puzzling is that while Tillich says God is beyond existence, because existence is for contingent things, and God is Being itself, identifies God with Being, Dionysus says God is beyond being. But then he is a full blown neo-Platonist. For him being is just reality and that is a copy of the true nature of things in which it participates. Tillich seems to move one step over from neo-Platonism toward modern existentialism. Dionysus tells us that we must make no expression or positive statement about the Super-Essential Godhead except those revealed in scripture for these are actually revealed by God. He tells us that “many writers thou wilt find who have declared that it [Super-Essential Godhead] is not only invisible and incomprehensible but also unreachable and past finding out since there is no trace of any that have penetrated the depth of its infinitude.” God reveals “itself” in stages commensurate with the powers of the subject for understanding. The notion that God is so wholly other, so transcendent of understanding is right in line with Tillich’s view. It’s clear Dionysius is a major source for Tillich’s existential ontology.


The upshot is that God transcends mere personhood. God is personal but is not "a person{ but is the origin of the personal. God is universal mind, meaning God is not nature but is the foundation of nature and can speak through nature and is present in nature (though his energies) and beyond it. God cannot be Judged by the standards of anything we know in  nature although God knows each one of us better than we know ourselves.



Source:
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Dionysius the Areopagite: on Divine names and the Mystical Theology, trans. Clearance Edwin Rolt , New YorkNew York: Cosmio 2007, from original 1920 publication.  see also online versionChristian Classics Ethereal Library, on line version, The Author and his Influence, trans by, 1920  website URL:  by http://www.ccel.org/ccel/rolt/dionysius.iii.i.html
visited May 13,
[1] Ibid, Introduction, 4-5
[1] Pseudo-Dionysius, On Divine Names, Ibid 52
[1] Ibid, 53
[1] Ibid.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

God, Intelligent Design, and The Illusion of Technique







Image result for metacrocks blog




On Secular Outpost , Eric Sotnak [1] opens debate against Intelligent Design (ID) by approaching it politically, DeVos ls ID and  she will be imposing it upon the schools, so here's why it's wrong.... Eric is approaching it through the notion of defending evolution, I have no intention of attacking evolution so I am approaching it through an understanding of belief in God. The issues transcend both politics and evolution, ID is just fancy packaging to dress up creationism in a more respectable garb, but the basic concept  that the universe is  the product of mind I support; it is that issue that I  approach as a from of belief in God. 

If you really want to fight what's about to happen to the educational system then you need to join the political struggle and back the resistance, Major part of the resistances is Christians. You don't see my feed on facebook but most of the anti-Trump stuff I see on FB is from Christians. Atheists ate still about 3% Christians are about 80% so it just stands to reason most anti-Trump feeling will be Christians,We resistance Christians are pretty pissed about what the Republicans have done (fundies included) to the faith. Eric is above making little wise cracks about Christians but not all of the posters of SOP are, this topic no less draws some of those comments.

There are three major issues I will deal with here, Two are used by Eric and one is my own. First there is Probability of naturalistic origin as opposed to Supernatural one,,
Secomdoy, the mechanism for creation , and thirdly the illusion of technique, This is the concept I barrow from William Barrett and his Book of that title.
[2] I will be making use of this concept in a major way kn  my upcoming book God,Science, and Ideology. The point being that the way the  issues are discussed in the conventional argument between ID and evolution feeds into the ideology that motivates scientism, not to accuse Eric of being scientistic.


Eric argues that Irreduceable Complexity (IC), a major argument in favor of ID,  is more probably a product of naturalistic forces rather than supernatural."But it is at least less improbable that it should have come about by supernatural means (intelligent agency).IC is about various organisms that are complete in themselves such as microbes that are like little motors,any part missing would mean the whole organism would fail to function, I have seen the same kind of argument made about the eye, So evolution could not have produced such an organism because it would have to start out whole, Sotnak argues that the probability is with a naturalistic outlook at the product of IC.  But he can't make good on that claim because there is no way to subject God to probability. Especially not with Bayes because (1) any setting of a prior is strictly biased, on either side. (2) No new info coming in about God because God is not given in sense data, If God is not given in sense data then God can't be subjected to probability, Consider the limitations of trying to use probability such as Bayes theorem for any kind of question about religious faith,m not merely the likelihood of God creating IC.

 Bayes’ theorem was introduced first as an argument against Hume’s argument on miracles, that is to say, a proof of the probability of miracles. The theorem was learned by Richard Price from Bayes papers after the death of the latter, and was first communicated to the Royal society in 1763.[3] The major difference in the version Bayes and Price used and modern (especially skeptical versions) is that Laplace worked out how to introduce differentiation in prior distributions. The original version gave 50-50 probability to the prior distributions. The original version gave 50-50 probability to the prior distribution.[4] The problem with using principles such as Bayes theorem is that they can’t tell us what we need to know to make the calculations of probability accurate in dealing with issues where our knowledge is fragmentary and sparse. The theorem is good for dealing with concrete things like tests for cancer, developing spam filters, and military applications but not for determining the answer to questions about reality that are philosophical by nature and that would require an understanding of realms beyond, realms of which we know nothing. Bayes conquered the problem of what level of chance or probability to assign the prior estimate by guessing. This worked because the precept was that future information would come in that would tell him if his guesses were in the ball park or not. Then he could correct them and guess again. As new information came in he would narrow the field to the point where eventually he’s not just in the park but rounding the right base so to speak.

The problem is that doesn’t work as well when no new information comes in, which is what happens when dealing with things beyond human understanding. We don’t have an incoming flood of empirical evidence clarifying the situation with God because God is not the subject of empirical observation. Where we set the prior, which is crucial to the outcome of the whole thing, is always going to be a matter of ideological assumption. For example we could put the prior at 50-50 (either God exists or not) and that would yield a high probability of God.[5] Or the atheist can argue that the odds of God are low because God is not given in the sense data, which is in itself is an ideological assumption. It assumes that the only valid form of knowledge is empirical data. It also ignores several sources of empirical data that can be argued as evidence for God (such as the universal nature of mystical experience).[6] It assumes that God can’t be understood as reality based upon other means of deciding such as personal experience or logic, and it assumes the probability of God is low based upon unbelief because the it could just as easily be assumed as high based upon it’s properly basic nature or some form of elegance (parsimony). In other words this is all a matter of how e chooses to see things. Perspective matters. There is no fortress of facts giving the day to atheism, there is only the prior assumptions one chooses to make and the paradigm under which one chooses to operate; that means the perception one chooses to filter the data through.

Perhaps he's not thinking in terms of Bayes but just asserting that we only have empirical evidence of naturalistic things. First of  all He's right about the issue of  biological development of organisms, there is no way to something like that to a direct SN origin. But as long as we are not fighting evolution we can't expect that standard of empirical evidence to rule out God as the ultimate origin of all things. After all we have direct empirical evidence of physical laws or mutliverse or string membranes but some scientists want to assume these things. Remember I do not argue for proof that God exists but rather for a "rational warrant fro belief, " the subtitle of my book. In that book I argue for warrant for belief based upon empirical evidence oft the co-determinate, That is the concept of Schleiemacher very much like the idea of foot prints in the snow, We don't have direct empirical evidence of God but we do have empirical evidence of the co-determinate,k the effects of God or as I have it The Trace of God. Of course the draw back there is that you have to know wast effects God would leave so we know them when we see them, That is an issue for another time. Read the book.[7]

Eric also makes a second point about the mechanism through whichGod creates, "The claim is usually made using the term “design.” But this avoids the question of how, exactly, the design is implemented. That is, if the bacterial flagellum begins as a design in the mind of an intelligent designer, how does the designer get the flagella into the world."[8] The problem here is that the mechanism I could advance is also a mystery to us, The saving feature is we know it exits, in fact all knowledge comes to us through this mechanism: mind, If we assume consciousness is a basic property of nature an assumption well argued for B y David Chalmers for example, [9] this gives us a justification for understanding mind as the basis of reality and then we can see God as the mind that is the basis of reality. Issac Newton had a concept that the universe is the "sensorium of God" which I take to mean the universe was God's interface with tangability,[10] There as a great deal of opposition on this point from Libnetz and it does indicate that Newton tendking to think in very physical and mechanical terms even ab out God. Libeniz claimed Newton understood space as an organ God needed to see, of course that;'s an exaggeration. [11] Be that as it may the are more modern examples such as that of University of Oregon Physicist Amit Gaswami, who sees thought as the basis of reality rather than energy.


The current worldview has it that everything is made of matter, and everything can be reduced to the elementary particles of matter, the basic constituents—building blocks—of matter. And cause arises from the interactions of these basic building blocks or elementary particles; elementary particles make atoms, atoms make molecules, molecules make cells, and cells make brain. But all the way, the ultimate cause is always the interactions between the elementary particles. This is the belief—all cause moves from the elementary particles. This is what we call "upward causation." So in this view, what human beings—you and I—think of as our free will does not really exist. It is only an epiphenomenon or secondary phenomenon, secondary to the causal power of matter. And any causal power that we seem to be able to exert on matter is just an illusion. This is the current paradigm[12]



My overall point is mind can be the mechanism and the world is a thought in the mind of God.



Not Bill Gates: "Therefore it is more likely that DNA was magically popped into existence by a supernatural agent than that it came about through natural processes."



Sure but the natural process, all natural processes wre kicked of by the SN power, the miomd tha thinks the universewhy not? All reality was so popped. Look, your question how could God go from idea in mind to real world? I don't think that's a fair question because it's eh kind thing of which we can't gain knowledge empirically; if we can't gain knowledge we can't assert it can't be done.Moreover,I have a theory of it, That is to take seriously Newton;s idea that the universe is the sensorium of God, I take that to mean analogous to thought in a mind,So God is thinking the world, Look you are assuming an evolutionary process is more: realistic than a mind thinking of things but it's no moreso, that's relative, we are startling from nothing. God would be all there is,so any thought God has is reality.You are assuming some kind of pre given set of physical laws governing a process of nature, that's really just God without the personality.

That brings up the third problem, the illusion of technique, The false notion that we can know it all because we can manipulate nature to a certain degree, We don';t know why we are here  or what started the big bang expansion or where the energy that makes the universe cane from,We pretend that we have it all under control because we only accept that which we can manage and manipulate the rest we pretend is not important, that means we have many mechanisms we do not understand.

Sources


[1] Eric Sotnak, "Intelligent Design: Get Ready for Another Round,l" Secular Outpost, (Feb. 17,2017) blog, URL:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularoutpost/2017/02/17/intelligent-design-get-ready-another-round/#disqus_thread  (accessed: 2/18/17)
Eric Sotnak teaching Philosophy at  University Of Akron.

[2] William Barrett, The Illusion of Technique: The Search for Meaning in a Technological Civilization, New York:Anchor, 1979, no page indicated.



[3]Geoffrey Poitras, Richard Price, Miracles and the Origin of Bayesian Decision Theory pdf http://www.sfu.ca/~poitras/Price_EJHET_$$$.pdf
11/11/10.
Faculty of Business AdministrationSimon Fraser UniversityBurnaby, BCCANADA V5A 1S6. Geoffrey Poitras is a Professor of Finance in the Faculty of Business Administration at Simon FraserUniversity. Lisited 12/22/12.
[4] ibid
[5] Joe Carter, “The Probability of God” First Thoughts. Blog of publication of First Things. (August 18, 2010) URL: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2010/08/18/the-probability-of-god/  visited (1/10/13). Carter points out that when Unwin (an atheist discussed in previous chapter) puts in 50% prior he gets 67% probability for God. When Cater himself does so he get’s 99%.Cater’s caveat: “Let me clarify that this argument is not intended to be used as a proof of God’s existence. The sole intention is to put in quantifiable terms the probabilities that we should form a belief about such a Being’s existence. In other words, this is not an ontological proof but a means of justifying a particular epistemic stance toward the idea of the existence or non-existence of a deity.The argument is that starting from an epistemically neutral point (50 percent/50 percent), we can factor in specific evidence for the existence or non-existence of a deity. After evaluating each line of evidence, we can determine if it is more or less likely that it would entail the existence of God.”
[6] Metacrock, "The Scale and The universal Nature of Mystical Experience," The religious a priroi blog URL: http://religiousapriori.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-m-sacle-and-universal-nature-of.html see also the major argument I sue for documentation in that article,  In P, McNamar (Ed.), Where God and science meet, Vol. 3, pp. 119-138. Westport, CT: Praeger. linked in Google preview.

[7] Joseph Hinman, The Trace of God:Rational Warrant For Belief. Colorado Springs: Grand Viaduct, 2014
https://www.amazon.com/Trace-God-Rational-Warrant-Belief/dp/0982408714

[8] Satnak op oct. all quotes by Sotnak from this article

[9] 
David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a theory. England, New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. 3-5.on line version: http://www.scribd.com/doc/16574382/David-Chalmers-The-Conscious-Mind-Philosophy Scribd, David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Theory of Conscious Experience, webstie Department of Philosophy, University of California at Santa Cruz, July 22 1995, visited 3/1/11 on line page numbers apply.

[10] Alexander Koyré, From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press,  1957, 235-239

[11] Ibid 239

[12] Gaswami




Friday, February 17, 2017

Stop Pruitt: Don't Break the EPA

Image result for air Pollution






The next Big move for the Resistance is to fight the nomination of Scot Pruitt for EPA chief, Trump hates environmental regulation an he's tried to appoint people who will dismantle the EPA and other environmental watch dogs. Pruitt is such a demolition expert. He is chosen because he opposes environmental regulation and other ecology friendly ideas,

Meet Scott Pruitt to Dismantel EPS

Jeremy Symons Senior Advisor, EDF Action Huffington Post, Nov 26,2016

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeremy-symons/meet-trumps-pick-to-disma_b_12832350.html 

Even though the moderators of all three presidential debates failed to ask any question about climate change or the environment, Donald Trump has made no secret of his disdain for America’s Environmental Protection Agency. In October, he promised to cut EPA regulations “70 to 80 percent” (watch this video at the 4 minute mark). In explaining how he will cut spending to pay for tax cuts, he has singled out the Environmental Protection Agency for budget cuts, promising to:“get rid of [EPA] in almost every form. We are going to have little tidbits left but we are going to take a tremendous amount out.” - Trump, March 2016
[In reality, EPA’s entire budget equals about one percent of the national deficit, estimated at $590 billion for 2016.] (Read More)

"Trump Picks \Scott Pruitt"
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/07/us/politics/scott-pruitt-epa-trump.html

WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald J. Trump has selected Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general and a close ally of the fossil fuel industry, to run the Environmental Protection Agency, signaling Mr. Trump’s determination to dismantle President Obama’s efforts to counter climate change — and much of the E.P.A. itself. Mr. Pruitt, a Republican, has been a key architect of the legal battle against Mr. Obama’s climate change policies, actions that fit with the president-elect’s comments during the campaign. Mr. Trump has criticized the established science of human-caused global warming as a hoax, vowed to “cancel” the Paris accord committing nearly every nation to taking action to fight climate change, and attacked Mr. Obama’s signature global warming policy, the Clean Power Plan, as a “war on coal.”
Mr. Pruitt has been in lock step with those views.
“Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind,” he wrote in National Review earlier this year. “That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime.”
Pruitt does not believe climate change is a hoax but he stops snort of acceptance  that man is significantly contributing to it,

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/18/epa-nominee-scott-pruitt-confirmation-hearing/96679106/



Republican Senator from Maine Susan Collins will. vote "no" on Pruitt

http://mainepublic.org/post/i-will-vote-no-susan-collins-says-she-ll-oppose-scott-pruitt-lead-epa#stream/0


Call your congressional rep and both senators and demand that they vote not on Pruitt for EPA!
202-224-3121




Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Imposing Our Values on God And Science

 photo Ross_zps2f2f4acb.jpg
Lee D. Ross, Stanford Psychology Dept.






Two studies seem to suggest that Christians project their own social values onto God. Nicholas Epley fins that:


People often reason egocentrically about others’ beliefs, using
their own beliefs as an inductive guide. Correlational, experimen-
tal, and neuroimaging evidence suggests that people may be even
more egocentric when reasoning about a religious agent’s beliefs
(e.g., God). In both nationally representative and more local sam-
ples, people’s own beliefs on important social and ethical issues
wereconsistentlycorrelatedmorestronglywithestimatesofGod’s
beliefs than with estimates of other people’s beliefs (Studies 1–4).
Manipulating people’s beliefs similarly influenced estimates of
God’s beliefs but did not as consistently influence estimates of
other people’s beliefs (Studies 5 and 6). A final neuroimaging study
demonstrated a clear convergence in neural activity when reason-
ing about one’s own beliefs and God’s beliefs, but clear diver-
gences when reasoning about another person’s beliefs (Study 7).
In particular, reasoning about God’s beliefs activated areas asso-
ciated with self-referential thinking more so than did reasoning
about another person’s beliefs. Believers commonly use inferences
about God’s beliefs as a moral compass, but that compass appears
especially dependent on one’s own existing beliefs.[1]
 The other is by Lee D. Ross


The present study explores the dramatic projection of one’s own views onto those of Jesus among conservative and liberal American Christians. In a large-scale survey, the relevant views that each group attributed to a contemporary Jesus differed almost as much as their own views. Despite such dissonance-reducing projection, however, conservatives acknowledged the relevant discrepancy with regard to “fellowship” issues (e.g., taxation to reduce economic inequality and treatment of immigrants) and liberals acknowledged the relevant discrepancy with regard to “morality” issues (e.g., abortion and gay marriage). However, conservatives also claimed that a contemporary Jesus would be even more conservative than themselves on the former issues whereas liberals claimed that Jesus would be even more liberal than themselves on the latter issues. Further reducing potential dissonance, liberal and conservative Christians differed markedly in the types of issues they claimed to be more central to their faith. A concluding discussion considers the relationship between individual motivational processes and more social processes that may underlie the present findings, as well as implications for contemporary social and political conflict. [2]

This has led some atheists on message boards to advance these studies as proof of the illogical nature of Christianity. It reinforces the atheist's idea that if God did exist it would be impossible to understand what he wants. "So why should atheists (or anyone, for that matter) take theists seriously when theists talk about what God is like, what God wants, what God commands, etc., if theist's are just unconsciously using God as a sound-board for their own positions?."[3]


These studies are put over as a disproof of the veracity of Christian thought, but in reality they are nothing of the kind. They are actually making good points (not that I have evaluated their validity of studies). These are not points that undo the validity of Christian, far from they are points I've thought about deeply since the Reagan era. I think these are things God wants us to think about. We should understand that we have a tendency to project our social projects and our prejudices and our cultural constructs on to God. We should ask "how can we know the difference?" The problem is the atheists make assumptions about the ultimate inability to know God, from a position of unbelief. Thus they blind to the prospect that we can know God. We can understand the distinction between our own ideas and what God wants. We can know God and we can Know what God wants. Before going into that I want to make another argument: it doesn't invalidate Christianity in any way becuase it's certainly not unique to Christianity. It's very much in line with the sort of thing that marks humans as human. In every walk of life, in all politics, atheist are exception, it's an occupational hazard of being human.

The second researcher sited above, Lee Ross,  has another study that was conviently over looked. That study says that Objectivity is not a human characteristic and we all project our things onto others no matter who we are or what our world view.

Important asymmetries between self-perception and social perception arise from the simple fact that other people’s actions, judgments, and priorities sometimes differ from one’s own. This leads people not only to make more dispositional inferences about others than about themselves (E. E. Jones & R. E. Nisbett, 1972) but also to see others as more susceptible to a host of cognitive and motivational biases. Although this blind spot regarding one’s own biases may serve familiar self-enhancement motives, it is also a
product of the phenomenological stance of naive realism.It is exacerbated, furthermore, by people’s tendency to attach greater credence to their own introspections about potential influences on judgment and behavior than they attach to similar introspections by others. The authors review evidence, new and old, of this asymmetry and its underlying causes and discuss its relation to other psychological phenomena and to interpersonal and intergroup conflict.[4]
The Ross article quotes, right after the abstract:
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye but
considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
—Matthew 7:3 (King James Version)
The atheist stock in trade is objectivity. They like to employ the fortress of facts idea that they have the big pile of facts and objective thinking and religion is just subjective nonsense with no facts behind it. In fact, humans research according to their biases and objectivity is an illusion. The same criticisms being made of Christianity can also be made of atheism or any other "ism" or any other view point. In fact while this is put over as the triumph of scinece over Christianity it's actually good example of atheists imposing their own views upon scinece. Those who evoke these first two studies without being aware of Ross's second study are merely employing the fortress of facts strategy. Rather than seeking to ask himself "are we doing this ourselves" they are content to assume it's only Christians and thus fall prey to the same idea.

The more insightful theological types are very aware of the metaphorical and analogical nature of all religious language. God is beyond our understanding. We can't discuss directly what we get from religious experience because we get it at a subliminal level. We can only relate to it and discuss it when we filter it through cultural constructs. That's what give each tradition it's won unique character.

It's not less true of secular philosophy or ethics. We are imposing culturally constructed values on scinece. The book Leviathan and the Air Pump by Shapin and Shaffer proved this is the case in the making of modern scinece. All the brave talk about "objectivity" is just so much crap. we are not objective. Look at how afraid the atheists have been to read my studies. not one study have their read. they refused to look at Hood's chapter (Put it up 147 times 2 people looked at it one of them admitted he didn't understand it and the other claimed she did but she didn't). Objectivity on the part of humans is a joke and a propaganda device. Shapin and Shaffer prove that science is based upon political space.

Ross writes:

This familiar biblical quotation describes an age-old double
standard in the way people perceive themselves versus their peers.
We suspect that people not only are subject to this double standard
but also are inclined to believe that their peers are more subject to
it than they are themselves. In the present article, we argue that
people readily detect or infer a wide variety of biases in others
while denying such biases in themselves. We place this argument
in the larger context of theory and research on the relationship
between self-perception and social perception. In particular, the
ideas we advance can be seen as an extension of Jones and
Nisbett’s (1972) conceptual analysis of divergent actor– observer
attributions, with the focus of our analysis shifting from judgments
about traits to judgments about biase. [5]
Of course we as Christians We should be not only self aware but also self critical. We should have the guts and honesty to be brutal enough with ourselves to say "is this really what god wants or is it just me?" How do we know what God wants? Of cousre there is no magic assurance that we get it right. That's the whole point of  Grace. We seek to please God in our hearts and whatever is in the gap or the short coming is covered by God's grace. There's no great mystery about how to know God's will.We have to learn the teachings of Jesus and keep to understand them in terms of general principles then apply those principles to our own context, heuristically, culturally, personally. Where that becomes hard is where it gets int the way of our personal expectations and biases. It's not prejudice that stands in the way of following God but our expectations, what we personally want the way we have it all "cracked up." That's where applying the principles becomes difficult. James 4:3 tells us: "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." As the quote above reveals we need to put ourselves in the other guys shoes more often.

The only real "cure" requires diligence and strength but it is to spend time in prayer. The time we spend with God, imbibing of the divine presence and learning to know what is really God from what we want is the difference between maturity and immaturity.



 Soruces

[1]Nicholas Epley, et al, "Believer's estimates of God's beliefs are more egocentric than estimates of other people's beliefs." PDF
http://www.uvm.edu/~pdodds/files/papers/others/everything/epley2009a.pdf
accessed 9/9/13
[2]Lee D. Ross, et al, "How Christians Reconcile thier Personal Political Views and Teachings of their faith: Projection as a means of dissonance of Reduction." PDF, Department of Pschology Standford University.
http://ylelkes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/PNAS-2012-Ross-3616-22.pdf
accessed 9/9/13
[3] A poster on a message board.
http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthread.php?160243-Theists-Project-Onto-God accessed 9/9/13
[4] Lee D. Ross, Thomas Gilvoich. "Objetivity is in the Eye of the Beholder: Divergent Perceptions of Bias In Self Verus Others. " PDF http://psych.princeton.edu/psychology/research/pronin/pubs/Pronin%20Gilovich%20Ross.pdf  accessed 9/9/13.
Thomas Gilvoich is at Cornell University.
[5] Ibid.