Sunday, November 11, 2007

An Understanding of Christ's Atonement Without Financial or Civil Paradigms

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The following essay is from DOXA. I put it up because tonight on CARM I ran into an argument I've seen a number of times, but not until now did it dawn on me why people make it. I suddenly realized so few people understand why there was an atonement. The average Christian understanding is so screwed most of them can't explain it to another person. This is reflected in the answers to this argument.


The argument goes like this: So what if Jesus was crucified? what's the big deal? There re much worse ways to suffer. Crucification is bad but it is far from the worst thing that can happen to you. So why was it a sacrifice, I mean after all he is God, what would it matter to him if he dies? And he got to come back."


Now this is incredibly ignorant, but it occurs to me there re some resins for this kind of chaotic thinking, but also one big hidden premise. Before launching into that analysis, however, I would like to comment on the inadequacy of Christian understanding.

First, most Christians try to answer this out of a need for piety. They do not give a theological answer, they give a pious one. The pious answer can't be understood by modern people, they lack pious feelings, so it just makes it worse. The pious answer of course is to try and mount up the pain and make it seem so very much worse. O. Jesus suffered in hell and he suffers every minute and he's still suffering and he felt all the agony in the world. Of course it doesn't' really say that anywhere in the Bible. While I think this is true, and while my pious side feels the prier sense of reversions Dan gratitude to our savior for this work, we can't use this to answer the question because modern impiety can't understand the answer. They just hear us reiterating their hidden primes.

The other Christian answers are Propitiatory atonement, Substitutionary, or Moral government. These are the tree major ways of looking at the atonement. Propitiation means to turn away anger. This answer is also incomprehensible t moderns. God is so very angry with us that he can't stand the sight of us, he hats o stick Jesus between himself and us so he will see Jesus and turn away his anger. This just makes God seem like a red faced historical parent who couldn't comprehend the consequences of his creation when he decided to make it. Substitutionary atonement says Jesus took our place, he received the penalty our sins deserved. This comes in two verities. One is financial translation, Jesus paid the debt. the other is closer to moral government, Jesus was exiducted because he stepped in and took the place of the guilty party. Both of these are also problematic, because they really allow the guilty to get off Scott free and persecute an innocent person. The thing is in real Fe you could not go down to the jail and talk them into letting you take another prisoners place. WE can harp on how this is a grace so fine we can't undersigned it in the natural mind, and relapse into piety again singing the praises to God for doing this wonderful act, but it wont answer the atheists questions.

I realize that the view I hold to is a little known minority view. I know I'm bucking the mainstream. But I think it makes a lot more sense and actuals why there was an atonement. Before getting into it, however, I want to comment upon the atheist hidden premise. The explicit premise of the atheist argument is that atonement works by Jesus suffering a whole lot. If Jesus suffers enough then restitution is made. But wait, restitution for what? For our sins? Then why should Jesus suffer more than we do or more than our victims do? Why do antes seem to think, as was argued on CRAM tonight, that Jesus must suffer more than anyone ever has for the atonement to work? It's because the hidden premise is that God is guilty and the atonement is the time God pays for his own mistakes. Jesus has to suffer more than anyone to make up for what God has done, inconveniencing us by creating us.

The sickness of the modern mind can scarcely comprehend Christian theology now. I wonder if it isn't too late and we are just past the day when people in the West can really be saved?

I mean consider the idea that usually accompanies this argument: well he is God after all, a little torture death cant' hurt him. In the old days, when we had a culture that ran on Christian memories, people said how great that God would do this for us when he didn't have to! NOw the argument is "Of course he had to, it's the least he can do, after all I didn't asked to be born, so I'm entitled to whatever goodies can get in compensation." That's why I think the hidden premise is to blame God; its as though they are saying God has to suffer more than anyone to make up for the suffering he caued as creator. This sort of attitude is very troubling.

In any case, my view is the Participatory atonement. It was embraced by several church fathers and modern theologians supporting it are mentioned below:





I.The Atonement: God's Solidarity With Humanity.



A. The inadquacy of Financial Transactions


Many ministers, and therefore, many Christians speak of and think of Jesus' death on the cross as analogous to a financial transaction. Usually this idea goes something like this: we are in hock to the devil because we sinned. God pays the debt we owe by sending Jesus to die for us, and that pays off the devil. The problem with this view is the Bible never says we owe the devil anything. We owe God. The financial transaction model is inadequates. Matters of the soul are much more important than any monetary arrangement and business transactions and banking do not do justice to the import of the issue. Moreover, there is a more sophisticated model; that of the sacrifice for sin. In this model Jesus is like a sacrificial lamb who is murdered in our place. This model is also inadequate because it is based on a privative notion of sacrifice. The one making the sacrifice pays over something valuable to him to appease an angry God. In this case God is paying himself. This view is also called the "propitiation view" because it is based upon propitiation, which means to turn away wrath. The more meaningful notion is that of Solidarity. The Solidarity or "participatory" view says that Jesus entered human history to participate in our lot as finite humans, and he died as a means of identifying with us. We are under the law of sin and death, we are under curse of the law (we sin, we die, we are not capable in our own human strength of being good enough to merit salvation). IN taking on the penalty of sin (while remaining sinless) Jesus died in our stead; not in the manner of a privative animal sacrifice (that is just a metaphor) but as one of us, so that through identification with us, we might identify with him and therefore, partake of his newness of life.



B. Christ the Perfect Revelation of God to Humanity


In the book of Hebrews it says "in former times God spoke in many and verious ways through the prophets, but in these latter times he has spoken more perfectly through his son." Jesus is the perfect revelation of God to humanity. The prophets were speaking for God, but their words were limited in how much they could tell us about God. Jesus was God in the flesh and as such, we can see clearly by his character, his actions, and his teachings what God wants of us and how much God cares about us. God is for humanity, God is on our side! The greatest sign of God's support of our cause as needy humans is Jesus death on the cross, a death in solidarity with us as victims of our own sinful hearts and societies. Thus we can see the lengths God is will to go to to point us toward himself. There are many verses in the Bible that seem to contradict this view. These are the verses which seem to say that Atonement is propitiatory.



C. Death in Solidarity with Victims


1) Support from Modern Theologians



Three Major Modern Theologians support the solidarity notion of atonement: Jurgen Moltmann (The Crucified God), Matthew L. Lamb (Solidarity With Victims), and D.E.H. Whiteley (The Theology of St. Paul).In the 1980s Moltmann (German Calvinist) was called the greatest living protestant theologian, and made his name in laying the groundwork for what became liberation theology. Lamb (Catholic Priest) was big name in political theology, and Whiteley (scholar at Oxford) was a major Pauline scholar in the 1960s.In his work The Crucified God Moltmann interprets the cry of Jesus on the cross, "my God my God why have you forsaken me" as a statement of solidarity, placing him in identification with all who feel abandoned by God.Whiteley: "If St. Paul can be said to hold a theory of the modus operandi [of the atonement] it is best described as one of salvation through participation [the 'solidarity' view]: Christ shared all of our experience, sin alone excepted, including death in order that we, by virtue of our solidarity with him, might share his life...Paul does not hold a theory of substitution..." (The Theology of St. Paul, 130)An example of one of the great classical theologians of the early church who held to a similar view is St. Irenaeus (according to Whiteley, 133).



2) Scrtiptural


...all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were Baptized into his death.? We were therefore buried with him in baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the death through the glory of the father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him in his death we will certainly be united with him in his resurrection.For we know that the old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.--because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.Now if we have died with Christ we believe that we will also live with him, for we know that since Christ was raised from the dead he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him; the death he died to sin he died once for all; but the life he lives he lives to God. In the same way count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.(Romans 6:1-5)



In Short, if we have united ourselves to Christ, entered his death and been raised to life, we participate in his death and resurrection thourgh our act of solidarity, united with Christ in his death, than it stands tto reason that his death is an act of solidarity with us, that he expresses his solidarity with humanity in his death.

This is why Jesus cries out on the cross "why have you forsaken me?" According to Moltmann this is an expression of Solidarity with all who feel abandoned by God.Jesus death in solidarity creates the grounds for forgiveness, since it is through his death that we express our solidarity, and through that, share in his life in union with Christ. Many verses seem to suggest a propitiatory view. But these are actually speaking of the affects of the solidarity. "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if when we were considered God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! What appears to be saying that the shedding of blood is what creates forgiveness is actually saying that the death in solidarity creates the grounds for reconciliation. IT says we were enemies then we were reconciled to him thorugh the death, his expression of solidarity changes the ground, when we express our solidarity and enter into the death we are giving up to God, we move from enemy to friend, and in that sense the shedding of blood, the death in solidarity, creates the conditions through which we can be and are forgiven. He goes on to talk about sharing in his life, which is participation, solidarity, unity.



D. Meaning of Solidarity and Salvation.

Jurgen Moltmann's notion of Solidarity (see The Crucified God) is based upon the notion of Political solidarity. Chrsit died in Solidarity wiht victims. He took upon himself a political death by purposly angering the powers of the day. Thus in his death he identifies with victims of oppression. But we are all vitims of oppression. Sin has a social dimension, the injustice we experience as the hands of society and social and governmental institutions is primarily and at a very basic level the result of the social aspects of sin. Power, and political machinations begin in the sinful heart, the ego, the desire for power, and they manifest themselves through institutions built by the will to power over the other. But in a more fundamental sense we are all victims of our own sinful natures. We scheme against others on some level to build ourselves up and secure our conditions in life. IN this sense we cannot help but do injustice to others. In return injustice is done to us.Jesus died in solidarity with us, he underwent the ultimate consequences of living in a sinful world, in order to demonstrate the depths of God's love and God's desire to save us. Take an analogy from political organizing. IN Central America governments often send "death squads" to murder labor unionists and political dissenter. IN Guatemala there were some American organizations which organized for college students to go to Guatemala and escort the leaders of dissenting groups so that they would not be murdered.

The logic was that the death squads wouldn't hurt an American Student because it would bring bad press and shut off U.S. government funds to their military. As disturbing as these political implications are, let's stay focussed on the Gospel. Jesus is like those students, and like some of them, he was actually killed. But unlike them he went out of his way to be killed, to be victimized by the the rage of the sinful and power seeking so that he could illustrate to us the desire of God; that God is on our side, God is on the side of the poor, the victimized, the marginalized, and the lost. Jesus said "a physician is not sent to the well but to the sick."The key to salvation is to accept God's statement of solidarity, to express our solidarity with God by placing ourselves into the death of Christ (by identification with it, by trust in it's efficacy for our salvation).



E. Atonement is a Primetive Concept?


This charge is made quite often by internet-skeptics, especially Jewish anti-missionaries who confuse the concept with the notion of Human sacrifice. But the charge rests on the idea that sacrifice itself is a primitive notion. If one commits a crime, someone else should not pay for it. This attack can be put forward in many forms but the basic notion revolves around the idea that one person dying for the sins of another, taking the penalty or sacrificing to remove the guilt of another is a premitive concept. None of this applies with the Participatory view of the atonement (solidarity) since the workings of Christ's death, the manner in which it secures salvation, is neither through turning away of wrath nor taking upon himself other's sins, but the creation of the grounds through which one declares one's own solidarity with God and the grounds through which God accepts that solidarity and extends his own; the identification of God himself with the needs and crys of his own creation.



F. Unfair to Jesus as God's Son?



Internet skeptics sometimes argue that God can't be trusted if he would sacrifice his son. This is so silly and such a misunderstanding of Christian doctrine and the nature of religious belief that it hardly deserves an answer. Obviously God is three persons in one essence, the Trinity , Triune Godhead. Clearly God's act of solidarity was made with the unanimity of a single Godhead. God is not three God's, and is always in concert with himself.











23 comments:

James F. McGrath said...

You may enjoy Paul Fiddes' book on the atonement. Also, you may want to fix some of the many typos - especially in the title.

John W. Loftus said...

Chrsit died in Solidarity wiht victims.

This answer is picking and choosing from the Bible, it doesn't sufficiently answer the question why Jesus suffered, nor does it answer the problem of evil, nor does it answer the problems of the incarnation and the trinity.

The best way to show God's solidarity with victims is to do for them what he commands YOU to do, and that is to help them out of their misery rather than suffer with them. Can you imagine doing the same if you had the power to allieviate their suffering?

If like Process Theologians your God doesn't have that kind of power, then neither does he have the power to help victims. Why should they care for God if all he can do is to suffer with them? He's impotent. It'd be like some poor pitiful creature of a man living in Siberia who shows he cares for you living in America by suffering with you. Why should you care if he does? He's no help to you! In fact you might even question his sanity because what he did does you no good. What good does it show you that God loves you if he cannot do anything for you except to suffer with you? Big deal, I would say. Do something about our suffering and then I'll be impressed and then I'll care, and then I might think you know what you're doing.

It's obvious that you are working from within a given Christian tradition that if you weren't already inside of it you wouldn't come to accept it in the first place. This is so obvious to me. You initially became a Christian because you thought otherwise of the atonement but with further study you rejected that initial atonement view. So rather than rejecting your faith you try desperately to hang on to it with something you never would've accepted in the first place.

Anonymous said...
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J.L. Hinman said...

anonymous said: still not writing in a word processor so you can spell check either, are you.


I didn't post the rest because it's a big attack on personalities. But actually I am using firefox every time. this last one was a real early piece. one of the first I wrote for the net back in 1998. So that's why it wasn't checked. I forgot to after putting it up.

Do I hate my readers? No, just you.

J.L. Hinman said...

John I'm going to give a real answer to comments here and on the your blog in a couple of days. But one quick comment. I want you to try and substantiate your BS comment about "picking and choosing." did you not learn anything at Trinity? They should have taught about exegesis.

no exegesis is not "picking and choosing." Neither is textual criticism. this is what I mean when I say atheism is rotting your brain. Because that is a childish short hand used by atheists all over message boards and it means nothing more than "I am not sophisticated enough to understand your hermeneutics but I can shame you with er zots common sense."

It's playing to the layman's fear of experts.

goprairie said...

"ex·e·ge·sis (ks-jss)
n. pl. ex·e·ge·ses (-sz)
Critical explanation or analysis, especially of a text."

j.l.hinman: "It's playing to the layman's fear of experts."

How does using a word I have to look up because it is not in common usage outside of theology school help in the discussion? How does it counter that point that due to all the contradictions in the Bible, one has to 'cherry pick' to defend it? In order to make anything like Christ's suffering make even the tiniest bit of sense, supporters have to go on for several pages of elaborate explanation that are contradictory to literal words in the Bible. The explanation of Christ's suffering that makes the most sense is that he pissed some people off so they killed him. And he died and stayed dead and some of his followers wanted him to be alive so much that they had self-induced visions where they 'saw' him or they simply made up that part. I might not be intelligent enough to follow those long convoluted arguments, but then sometimes one does not need to be very intelligent to see obvious flaws and chose a thing that makes more sense. God ia a thing people made up, and apparently not very well.

J.L. Hinman said...

"ex·e·ge·sis (ks-jss)
n. pl. ex·e·ge·ses (-sz)
Critical explanation or analysis, especially of a text."

j.l.hinman: "It's playing to the layman's fear of experts."

How does using a word I have to look up because it is not in common usage outside of theology school help in the discussion?

because that's the word used in the text. why doesn't it ever occur to you guys that there is a reaosn why such things are limited to people who study them professionally? because that's what scholars do, that's why they are experts.



How does it counter that point that due to all the contradictions in the Bible, one has to 'cherry pick' to defend it?


Because first of all, the assumption you are making is naive and totally wrong headed. It's not a matter of "having to cherr pick to defend something becuase the bible is such stupid crap." that's a view that comes form knwoing nothing about it. that's
why we need experts to do it. because you don't know anything about it.

secondly, what you are calling "cherry picking" (imagine mocking nasal tone) is a critical examination where one compares manuscripts to determine which reading is genuine and which is not. Hermeneutics is not based upon just looking at the passages that agree with you. My view of the atonement is not based upon one passage. I can deal with all passages pertaining to it. But Loftus didn't present any and my aim in that article was not to do a comparative study on passage. It was a theological statement explaining my view. My view is not derived just from writing that article. It's derived from studying the whole bible.




In order to make anything like Christ's suffering make even the tiniest bit of sense, supporters have to go on for several pages of elaborate explanation that are contradictory to literal words in the Bible.


Obviously that's not true because I did. You are just reasoning in a circle where you start from the premise the bible has to be stupid, so therefore it is, thus attempt to understand it in a way that makes it not stupid must be wrong, why? because the the bible is stupid.

circular reasoning that comes from privileging your position for no reason.



The explanation of Christ's suffering that makes the most sense is that he pissed some people off so they killed him.


that only makes sense given the circular reasoning that the bible cant' be true because you don't like it so any evidence for it must be wrong and you don't' have to think about it. thus you very angry when anyone tries to defend it because you aren't letting you have yoru way.

of course if we assume Jesus is more than that then it that makes no sense.



And he died and stayed dead and some of his followers wanted him to be alive so much that they had self-induced visions where they 'saw' him or they simply made up that part.


that's your opinion. you try to make into a fact by insisting that it has to be the starting point for any discussion, that's just part f your circle of logic in your circular reasoning. Its' not proven its' just your little idea because you have this and that little motive for hating God. So you have to start from the position that its' not true and can't be true and you don't allow anyone else to think differently.


I might not be intelligent enough to follow those long convoluted arguments, but then sometimes one does not need to be very intelligent to see obvious flaws and chose a thing that makes more sense. God ia a thing people made up, and apparently not very well.

4:41 AM
Delete
don't confuse me with the facts. I don't need knowledge,. I have hatred that's better than logic.

J.L. Hinman said...

Collapse comments

James F. McGrath said...

You may enjoy Paul Fiddes' book on the atonement.

thanks for the book idea.

helen said...

"why doesn't it ever occur to you guys that there is a reaosn why such things are limited to people who study them professionally? because that's what scholars do, that's why they are experts."

Ah, the bold arrogance reveals itself in true colors! So the only people worth of discussing an issue are the learned with degrees? How narrow your views!

That you should sit at the lunch table with the physicists af Fermi National Accelerator lab and observe them listen to what the software people say about physics and the respect with which they hold discourse.

That you should sit in an art class and observe the learned instructor listen respectfully to the students' intepretation of the art.

The goal of the learned expert should not be to miserishly and arrogantly hold on to the ideas and information, discussing only among themselves and dismissing all others as unworthy, but willingly look out into the world for other ideas and opinions that might help his or her grow in their own understanding.

It is not the responsibility of the amatuer to learn all the lingo of the expert, but the responsibiity of the learned to summarize their points in a way others can understand and to listen to them for what spark of insight might be in their intuitive responses to the ideas.

The educated have learned what the educated know. Growth in ideas can come from anywhere and often DOES come from outside the realm of experts, because those people can have flashes of insight not corrupted by traditional historical standard accepted thinking on the idea.

The hallmark of the mature scholar is to listen.

J.L. Hinman said...

"why doesn't it ever occur to you guys that there is a reaosn why such things are limited to people who study them professionally? because that's what scholars do, that's why they are experts."

Ah, the bold arrogance reveals itself in true colors! So the only people worth of discussing an issue are the learned with degrees? How narrow your views!


why do you supposse it is that Martin Luther King (who was christian did you know that?) did not sit down for a lovely little chat with the KKK? because it is pointless trying to have a discussion with people who hate you and want you dead! Yes it is.

when I start to discuss issues and atheists (brown shirt naz thugs) tell me "O your God is stupid and christiantiy is stupid and the bible is stupid so you hve nothign to say, then I know there's no ponit in trying to talk to the.

speak of schoalry methods as "cherry picking" is just stupid. ti shows that one is not knowledge enough to take part in a high level discussion. that's what I seek.

I wrote a nice little people for people who want to learn. but the brown shirts have to hunt down the evil Christians and destroy their ideas and prevent learning. You are a brown shirt. you are helping mind rape me because I don't believe the way you do.




That you should sit at the lunch table with the physicists af Fermi National Accelerator lab and observe them listen to what the software people say about physics and the respect with which they hold discourse.


when did you go with me to school? how many times were you there when I spoke with my friend in graduate school? how dare you imply that I do not listen that I don't give people a chance. you have no concept you don't know. but you brown shirts shout down all attempts at giving the facts. you brown shirts are just thugs who can't allow anyone to state what they know. you just want to pick at the stuff and not allow a free exchange and you flaunt your ignorance.

That you should sit in an art class and observe the learned instructor listen respectfully to the students' interpretation of the art.

You have never been to class with me and you don't know. but I will tell you this, there is no professor anywhere who would allow a little thug off the street to sit in the back of the class and mock everything he says and disrupt the lecture.

The goal of the learned expert should not be to miserishly and arrogantly hold on to the ideas and information, discussing only among themselves and dismissing all others as unworthy, but willingly look out into the world for other ideas and opinions that might help his or her grow in their own understanding.

the goal of a student should not be to ridicule the professor when he doesn't understand, or to make the subject matter or to refuse to listen or read or learn. that's why you little brown shirt atheist Nazis are doing. you are trying to shut down learning about Christianity so your little mock version of it will be taken fro the truth and people wont have anything to compare it to.

Anonymous said...

a couple comments to your frothing seething bile.
first, i am under no obligation to learn about something i have rejected. none of us are. if we argue a specific point, it is your job to support it with facts and quotes, not links to hundreds of pages. it is fine to point a person to a book for reference on a general matter, but on a single point, it is more appropriate to substantiate your counter claim with a breif summary.
and if i have patently rejected something due to basic claims, i have no obligation to learn its details. I reject god and souls because i beleive in evolution that began with self replicating chemistry and a soul does not fit into that. however, i live in a christian society where threats to my freedom to not beleive happen daily. illinios just put school prayer into law. and it is fundametalist leading the push to make this a 'christian nation' and people like you with vague undefined beliefs who go along with it. my goal is not to learn more about your religion that i have rejected, but to keep it out of state matters and keep it an option for all people to practice their choice of religion or not. but there is a huge prejudice that any religion is better than none, and that is what i fight against.
another point: when no one comments, or people stop commenting to you, it does not mean you have won. it means they have given up. in disgust. there are many others who carry on discussions without labels and insults and put downs. you argue that you are to very intelligent, yet you resort to things like this brown shirt nonsense. i am telling you that it reads poorlu. it makes you sound petty and not very intelligent. if you would calm yourself and stick to points, you would be better respected. if you get angry and spew as a tool for calming down, then do that but edit it severly before you post. john had tried, more than i would, to give you fair breaks, but there is no one else that i have read on his site that hurls insults and poison like you do. this is not a personality attack so do not dismiss it as such. it is a criticism of a specific aspect of your behavior. i am telling you how people percive it. you can keep on, but the result will be that no one who knows the aliases you use will bother to even comment. your comments will effectively close the thread, or they will comment on what previous people said. your choice of how to proceed. but if i was leading a high school debate class, you'd be out in the hallway by now.
if you are still reading, you might do some thinging about respect. how it is earned and how it is nurtured. that art teacher would listen respectfully and if the student was out of line, they would tell them how and why and not call them names and insult them. the teacher would cultivate respectful discussion by being respectful. you want to be a leader? act like one instead of acting like a petulant emotional child.

J.L. Hinman said...

a couple comments to your frothing seething bile.

hey congratulations man! While this line is a personal attack, you finally figured out what I mean by no personal attacks. this is sufficient free of it enough that I am allowing it because you say something really stupid and I want to take it apart.


first, i am under no obligation to learn about something i have rejected. none of us are.



O yes you sure as hell are! You really think that criticizing something doesn't obligate you to know about it? what a stupid idea. If you are going to make the focus of your life the criticizing of this thing that you hate, you are sure as hell obligated to try and understand it, if you don't you just fall into the category of anther ignorant idiot shooting off his ignorant mouth--but hey--close the barn door,the horses are gone!



if we argue a specific point, it is your job to support it with facts and quotes, not links to hundreds of pages.

that is totally and absolutley ludicrous! the beginnig freshman in this first day of debate leans that you cannot make a charge agaisnt a position in a debate without backing it up. "he who asserts an argument has the burden to prove it!" "that is not backed up" is always a valid defense!



it is fine to point a person to a book for reference on a general matter, but on a single point, it is more appropriate to substantiate your counter claim with a breif summary.


It's really stupid to say this. It's common accepted protocol and eradicate in the blogesphere to link to anything you mention, dumb shit! everyone does it. go read any blog and if its is by a person who has been blogging for very long it will do this. SOP man, SOP! standard "freaking" operating procedure!

Moreover, when I link to my own pages its because there is no only documenting info there but also because is made at length. Its' stupid to expect someone to drag in a huge page full of argument and docs and texts to a side bar. that's just dumb. I do put the major brunt of an argument in the direct post.



and if i have patently rejected something due to basic claims, i have no obligation to learn its details.

sure as hell do if you argue with me. Otherwise I'm going to call you on it as a know nothing shooting his ignorant mouth when he's too lazy to do the research to see if he's right.

that you think this is just proof of my view that atheists are super selfish and thats' their whole problem, a battle of the wills with God because you are selfish monster.




I reject god and souls because i beleive in evolution that began with self replicating chemistry and a soul does not fit into that.

yes it does. Because you don't know what a soul is. soul is a symbols. symbols don't' have to physical existence, they are just metaphors get it? I believe in evolution and I believe in souls because are just symbols.

Of what are souls symbolic? ironically I was going to do a blog on this when this very issue when Loftus decided to attack my thing on atonement. It's ok that he did. I'm not upset about it. But I will save my answer on souls for that blog spot.




however, i live in a christian society where threats to my freedom to not beleive happen daily.

no they don't. You are free to believe any misbegotten selfish little bull shit you want to, and no one can stop you. the government is not going to look you up for rejecting God's love. no one cares if you want to reject love.



illinios just put school prayer into law. and it is fundametalist leading the push to make this a 'christian nation' and people like you with vague undefined beliefs who go along with it. my goal is not to learn more about your religion that i have rejected, but to keep it out of state matters and keep it an option for all people to practice their choice of religion or not. but there is a huge prejudice that any religion is better than none, and that is what i fight against.


this is what I mean by monstrous selfish. you think 2% of the population should control 76% of the population. Well we don't we don't care to be pushed around by you are by stupid people who can't argue fairly.

I agree that no one should be compelled to pray. I am totally and absolutely against forcing prayer. but if people want to pray on school grounds, it's part of the overwhelming majority that makes it part of the fabric of society and you don't have a right to complain. If and ONLY if they grant your right to not be at the prayer.




another point: when no one comments, or people stop commenting to you, it does not mean you have won.

I didn't say it did. I know this may be over your head, but i actually don't consider this a contest or a sport. I don't think there's a "winner" and I don't know how to score it. there is no judge there are elimination rounds it's not a debate tournament. either you learn something or you don't. Either you are challenged and stimulated to think and read and learn or you don't. If you don't I may have failed for writing a lousy piece or you may have failed to be a perceptive reading.


it means they have given up. in disgust.

or in your case it's over their heads.


there are many others who carry on discussions without labels and insults and put downs.

then why don't you? that's all you ever do is attack personaity and here you are doing it again!



you argue that you are to very intelligent, yet you resort to things like this brown shirt nonsense.

you are borwn shirts. the other day on board I posted a polite and reasonable post (no one there had ever seen my posts before) and gave several studies and talked about their findings. The guy comes first thing out of the shoot "this is just Christian garbage because are so gullible..."

It was a study done by sociologists had nothing with being Christian. But he assumes it's some "lying Christians" because a Christian is talking about it. To me that's a borwn shirt in action because he wont even allow the exchange of nuetral informatino. anything christian says is automatically wrong. There was a poster on the DC blog who showed that view point too, when he tried to assert that my answers to Lofuts were wrong becuase there can't be a God so theerfore, my view of atonement is wrong, regardles of what it says.

all of this is just part of a huge trend among atheists to try and silence Christian argument. you guys are so tired of getting your brains beaten out by good arguments and better studies that you are just trying to shut down debate any way you can.




i am telling you that it reads poorlu.

what is poorlu?


it makes you sound petty and not very intelligent. if you would calm yourself and stick to points, you would be better respected.


that is such a stupid thing to say. Because Lofuts didn't respond to more than one single point ni that last exchange. HE didnt' analyze any veres, he didn't tlak about a theory of inspriation, he didn't deal with the transformative effects of resurrection, he didn't show why the solidarity model i snot an imporovement, he just asserting that it did't offer an better explaination for curcifictino of Chrsit, which it obviously does. He didn't deal with anything.

In my come back I talked about all these things and he talked about none of them. this is pretty standard. I deal issues far better than you do. you always focuses on little petty niggling things that you feel you have the advantage in and ignore the major part of the post and ignore the main point. that's if you not attacking personality.

the rest is just typical attacks on personality. the reason I posted this is because I want to get accords the idea that yes, you are obligated to understand things you criticize. if you don't try to do that you are just an ignorant fool shooting off his mouth about things he knows nothing. you do have a burden of proof when you make an argument. every major rhetorician says so.

you almost did better but just couldn't quite get through a post without attacking personality. in fact the whole thing is really an attack, but veiled. so I will not publish your posts except and unless and until you learn to deal with issues., issues only.

Anonymous said...

Good Lord, do you folks even know what "cherry picking" is? I love how we hear how it's "our job" to prevent clear facts, but apparently not your job to actually read them.

Oh no! You might actually have to read the works cited in a bibliography! That would require some kind of WORK on your part, which clearly isn't worth it over a faith you've rejected when you can just say "I don't believe you!" and leave it at that.

I wonder. I don't tend to take Revelation literally (which, no, does not mean that I don't believe it... I wouldn't bother mentioning this except for the verbal-plenary-inspiration-or-it-didn't-happen view of the Bible), but some passages seem to indicate believers passing judgment on the rest of the world.

Let's just say that if I were to judge atheists, I would ask them to prove that they were a good person.

Then, no matter what they said to me, no matter what experts they cited, no matter who vouched for them, no matter what evidence they gave me, I'd just say, "I don't believe you. Prove it."

Because that is *exactly* what's going on here.

J.L. Hinman said...

apparently a different "anonymous." WE will have to call them "old anon" and "new anon." Or maybe "childish anon" and "rational anon."

thanks rational new anon!

Anonymous said...

> It's obvious that you are working from within a given Christian tradition that if you weren't already inside of it you wouldn't come to accept it in the first place. This is so obvious to me. You initially became a Christian because you thought otherwise of the atonement but with further study you rejected that initial atonement view. So rather than rejecting your faith you try desperately to hang on to it with something you never would've accepted in the first place.

That's not at all "obvious" to me, Mr. Loftus. You? As best I can tell, you enjoy psychoanalyzing people you meet online. I base my opinion on having known Joe for many years. I'm also quite familiar with how he came to the Lord and I can tell you that you have things backwards.

Rather, what actually happened is that an intelligent person educated himself about the faith he wanted to attack. Of course he was eventually confronted with the fact that he was wrong back then. Of course he took time to understand exactly how he was wrong.

But that's why he's more credible than someone who woke up one day and decided "eh, I guess I don't believe this crap anyway" or people who apparently don't understand all this stuff to begin with.

As for what is quite possibly the only charge you make, that God could wave a magic wand and all suffering would disappear, I don't think you understand the big picture.

The point of this whole universe is us and who we become. Our suffering is finite and by no means insurmountable, not to mention human-inflicted in large part. Thus, how we rise to these challenges and how we react to them makes us who we will become.

Besides, if you really cared about all the suffering out there in the world as more than a talking point, I have to believe you'd be doing more about it than arguing with people online. Then again, you probably think you're doing that by trying to save theists from irrationality, so who knows?

John W. Loftus said...

Anonymous said...But that's why he's more credible than someone who woke up one day and decided "eh, I guess I don't believe this crap anyway" or people who apparently don't understand all this stuff to begin with.

You mischaracterize me. Why do you feel the need to do this?

Anonymous said...As for what is quite possibly the only charge you make, that God could wave a magic wand and all suffering would disappear, I don't think you understand the big picture.

When it comes to the problem of evil, I do think there is a lack of understanding from theists about what it is. Dr. James F. Sennett has said: “By far the most important objection to the faith is the so-called problem of evil – the alleged incompatibility between the existence or extent of evil in the world and the existence of God. I tell my philosophy of religion students that, if they are Christians and the problem of evil does not keep them up at night, then they don’t understand it.”

One of the longest, and best chapters in my book is on the problem of evil. You can catch a glimpse of what I say in it here.

Anonymous said...Besides, if you really cared about all the suffering out there in the world as more than a talking point, I have to believe you'd be doing more about it than arguing with people online. Then again, you probably think you're doing that by trying to save theists from irrationality, so who knows?

I can only do what I can do. Why fault me for this?

J.L. Hinman said...

Anonymous said...But that's why he's more credible than someone who woke up one day and decided "eh, I guess I don't believe this crap anyway" or people who apparently don't understand all this stuff to begin with.

You mischaracterize me. Why do you feel the need to do this?

How so? I am not saying you are wrong, but you should say what you mean. This doesn't tell us anything.

Anonymous said...As for what is quite possibly the only charge you make, that God could wave a magic wand and all suffering would disappear, I don't think you understand the big picture.

When it comes to the problem of evil, I do think there is a lack of understanding from theists about what it is. Dr. James F. Sennett has said: “By far the most important objection to the faith is the so-called problem of evil – the alleged incompatibility between the existence or extent of evil in the world and the existence of God. I tell my philosophy of religion students that, if they are Christians and the problem of evil does not keep them up at night, then they don’t understand it.”


that is hardly an objection to faith. That's just an invitation to go to seminary. challenges to intellectual thought are just opportunities to learn more not reasons to give up belief.

One of the longest, and best chapters in my book is on the problem of evil. You can catch a glimpse of what I say in it here.

How do you deal with Augustine's view of evil?

How do you deal with Whithead's view of evil?

darn I wish I had seen this before I put up the blog spot I just put up. But I will deal with the problem of evil soon.


Anonymous said...Besides, if you really cared about all the suffering out there in the world as more than a talking point, I have to believe you'd be doing more about it than arguing with people online. Then again, you probably think you're doing that by trying to save theists from irrationality, so who knows?

I can only do what I can do. Why fault me for this?

you could listen more, and you could stop making everything you do a long teaser for your book and actually make an argument.

John W. Loftus said...

How do you deal with Augustine's view of evil?

It's a concessionary solution to the problem because it concedes the argument works if the premises are true. It just denies one of the premises, that evil exists.

How do you deal with Whithead's view of evil?

Process thought? It too concedes the argument by denying God is omnipotent.

If someone agrees with the premises of an argument and concedes that if the premises are true the argument works they are conceding the argument.

Concessionary solutions deny the premises.

J.L. Hinman said...

John W. Loftus said...

How do you deal with Augustine's view of evil?

It's a concessionary solution to the problem because it concedes the argument works if the premises are true. It just denies one of the premises, that evil exists.

No Augustine never denied evil exists. He denied that it's a positive force. It's like shadow or cold. Do you say shadows don't exist because they are the absence of light? Or cold doesn't' exist because it's the absence of heat?




How do you deal with Whithead's view of evil?

Process thought? It too concedes the argument by denying God is omnipotent.


How so? Process says that evili s what can't be redeemed. how is that giving in to the problem?



If someone agrees with the premises of an argument and concedes that if the premises are true the argument works they are conceding the argument.


I think you are confussed about the premise. The premise of your argument is that good God can't allow bas things or can't crat evil or allow pain. Neither Augie nor process deny that evil exists, or that it is bad, or that pain hurts or that God doesn't like it.

Both theories seek to explain why God must allow evil even though he doesn't like it.

From Augie we learn that God did not create evil, any more than the sun creates shadows. Dark is not part of light, it's cast in relief by light. Cold is not an infection of heat. There's no contradiction in good God good has evil world, because he didnt 'make evil as a posative force.

process further expalins this by showing that evil is what cannot be redeemed.

the only point you have is both theories limit God's action, although Augie sure wouldn't think he limited God. But you are imposing the fundie paradigm by insisting that God must be omnipotent.. We just go back to the original problem, the atheist straw man, not allowing Christians to have their own true beliefs but imposing those the atheist wont them to hold.

John W. Loftus said...

A.M. Weisberger argues effectively that Augustine's and Process Theology's positions are concessionary solutions because they accept the conclusion of the argument from evil as stated. They do in fact deny the premises of the arugument. Being concessionary means they concede the argument as stated. This means the argument doesn't apply to their views. Other arguments do, though. Read her arguments. I'm not prone to want to type them in.

In the absence of this, does it make any intellectual sense at all to say there is no suffering? That suffering is a privation? Augustine's view has been debunked so many times I'm surprised you even bring it up. And for Process Thought, such a God is unworthy of worship in my opinion, although I could say so much more about both views.

J.L. Hinman said...

John W. Loftus said...

A.M. Weisberger argues effectively that Augustine's and Process Theology's positions are concessionary solutions because they accept the conclusion of the argument from evil as stated. They do in fact deny the premises of the arugument. Being concessionary means they concede the argument as stated. This means the argument doesn't apply to their views. Other arguments do, though. Read her arguments. I'm not prone to want to type them in.

how can they conceded the argument if they deny its premise? what argument exactly? Do you really believe that Augustine said that good God cannot create a universe with evil in it?

In the absence of this, does it make any intellectual sense at all to say there is no suffering? That suffering is a privation?

If you think Augustine said that then you must quote him. because I tell you he did not!

Augustine's view has been debunked so many times I'm surprised you even bring it up.

total absolute ignorance. read O'Mera and Babcock.


And for Process Thought, such a God is unworthy of worship in my opinion, although I could say so much more about both views.

thinking like a fundie again I think forfet the right to say what God worthy of worship

J.L. Hinman said...

you cannot quote a book ad as documentation. that tells me nothing. If you are going to use a source on line you should use an article that is posted on line some we can read it. a book ad will not do.

J.L. Hinman said...

John, I do not mean this as an insult. but I have a major problem with the way you argue. Its' something a lot of atheists do. You say general blurby things like that book ad,"O she is great, she really taeks it to the mat, she will become the standard to which all theists must work to overcome." So? what does that mean? no analysis, nothing specific. general blurby short little advertising slogans and then "wow that really puts those old theists in their place!"


it says nothing! show me something actually analyzes the issues. talk in blurbs. show some quotes from Augustine that prove your point.