Thursday, September 29, 2005

Exotic visitors from other lands

United States
13 13.98% Canada
6 6.45% United Kingdom
5 5.38% Netherlands
4 4.30% Australia
3 3.23% Belgium
2 2.15% South Africa
2 2.15% Jamaica
2 2.15% Philippines
1 1.08% Japan
1 1.08% Hong Kong
1 1.08% Italy
1 1.08% Egypt
1 1.08% Argentina

even though my traffic has dwendaled to less than a Trickle, more like a drip, I"m still getting a good mix from around the world.

As far as the essay below on the 60's, I want to point out that the events in Mexico that I speak of was really a much more monumental event than any of the events in the U.S. May of 68 in France was even more important. For the first time since the 19th century the capitalisitc powerstucture was almost overthrown in a real revolution when workers joined students to protest the heavy handed French government.

Not everything happens in the U.S.

Confessions of a child of the Sixties

I just saw a pretty good show about the 60's. It was on PBS, and it covered a lot of international student events that one doesn't often see, such as the massacre of students in Mexico City in Oct. of 68, and the May '68 in Paris. The old image are still evocative for me. I wonder if these young people today (I sound like a real old foggy) will know or understand what it means to me to see the wild umkept hair of Bob Dylan and hear that sand paper whine screeching out "the Time they are a'Chang'n?" Or to see the jet black hair of Joan Baez and hear the most hauntingly beautiful voice of that decade. Those two images alone encapsulate the whole sixties thing for me. I literally cried at the images of MLK's funeral, Bobbie Kennedy dying on the floor of the kitchen, thousands of people spontaneously lining the tracks on the journey taking his body back to Washington. Scenes of the Police riot in Chicago the summer of '68. It's hard to relate what scenes of that time do to me. I was a child but I sat glued to the TV the whole time and watched the police beat the crap of people just wanting to stop a war (while they alternated with the story of the Russians invading Checoslovokia, it was not wasted on me that hese two events were two versions of the same thing, the iron curten version and our version). They beat reporters, they beat passers by, and all the while the naive crowd of idealistic politicos chanting "the whole world is watching, the whole world is watching." Of, how could I not mention images of Woodstock? While young people revaled in wild abandon, stoned out of their minds, great music, trying to make their dreams concrete in reality and settling for the greatest party the east coast ever saw.

I guess anyone under 35 would be mystified by my attachment to all of this. But in my youth these images said to me "you are part of something, something is happening, your generation is gong to end things that have been wrong for thousands of Years.' I never got to take part in it. I longed to grow up and become a protester and be part. I did join other protest movements, I was a political activist for most of a decade. But I never got to do it in the 60s. I only went to one actual anti-veitnam protest. But somehow, I was part of it. It was my generation, my time, my older siblings so to speak and I was part of it in my heart and I supported them everyday fervently. It was exciting to know that I was part of a history making epoch that change humanity, hopefully for the better, forever.

I think we did change it for the better, also for the worst. I think Dylan was ahead of us all really, because he knew better than to attach himself to an ideology or a party line. So many of us were caught up on that and sold out our dreams, ironically, in the attempt to secure them and to live out their meaning. We sold them out by taking ourselves too seriously. Over the decades one learns to forget, to keep quite, the younger people dot' want to hear it, they can't relate to it. They dont' know what it is. They don't know what my music meant to me. They could never understand why their music sickens me. They could never understand what mine does for me. They don't care, and I don't care. But then I have to hand it to them, its their time. Every new generation must fight its own daemons and define itself against what came before and where it wants to wind up. So I let them have their time. I try not to be the old curmudgeon who railed against my long hair, and just let them have their thing, whatever I think of it.

But it's not so easy because it opens up a long and deep wound that's been there since my conversion to Christ. The ultimate dilemma: I see the show, I know that's who I am. I'm the child of those days. I am the veteran of those Chicago streets, even though I wasn't there physically, I was there in spirit. I am the remnant of that movement. I am the result, the product, the artifact of that time. And that spirit of those days tells me I am my own seeker. I am still looking for myself, and I wont find it in the group. young people can't understand it at all; the kids of today have come full circle, they are creatures of the group; but not me. I will not find myself among the group. I am liberal, will always be liberal. My most sacred basic core values include setting captives free, stopping war, protesting injustice, supporting equality between all people. That's who I am and I can't sell that out.

But I am also a child of God. I found Jesus, I know he's real. I know the power is real. i can't ever deny that, or deny what he did in my life. Whatever psychological theory or psychologizing fad comes along to explain my conversation exoeruebce, however a product of my dopamine one thinks it to be, I know it was real and that it was more than just chemicals in my head, and I can't ever Denny that. But that belief, that relationship, that finding of God is not done in a vacuum. It's a social thing and it comes with a history. I don't always approve of that history. Nevertheless, the history of the social side of the faith I embrace. I can't ignore it set myself apart form it. Therefore, I belong to the church and I have to belong to the church, but that is very probemlatic.

I don't always like the church. I sometimes spend a great deal of my time laughing at large segments of the church. I am sometimes embarrassed by large segments of the chruch.Not so much because so many Christians supported right wing causes, since there are also a lot of left wing Christians, but because as a true faith I should be seeking reconciliation with these guys. I should figure that our mutual faith is more important and should bring us together more than my half and baked and dimly conceived value system sets us apart. But sometimes I can't do that. Sometimes that value system is awfully clear to me. The conservatives were so frightened by the sixties. Those who were set in fear by that decade see no distinctions between any of the elements that mark that time. Beetle hair cuts just lead inexorably to orgies in the streets. The Turtles song "so Happy Together" leads with utter finality to the nations current drug problem, such that any aspects of the sixties scares the pants off of them and must be attributed to Satan. These are the guys who play records backwards to hear those evil hidden satanic messages like "we go GA lm NOC." How diabolic can you get!

These guys are all over the church. These guys think they own Christianity, and anyone who doesn't toe their party line is just hood wincked by Satan. Most of the time I try to treat them with benign neglect, but how can I really ignore them when, if they had their way, they would crush out of existence ever vestige, not only of the time I hold so dear (my youth) but also the values, the very core meaning that that time holds for me? How can I Ignore them when they hate and fear everything I'm about? Somehow I have faith that Christ really does unite us, but it's hard sometimes to get through an election while I watch otherwise intelligent rational fellow Christians turn beautiful organizations into right-wing political groups; I really do know that they don't want to hear any counter views. I see them build fenses around their doctrines so that their pet interpritations of doctrine become sacred and one dare not disagree.

Eventually it begins to ware on my actual faith. I start to consider alternatives. Then, after so much argument and dispute about religious matters, I just think "what's it all for?" I have been tempted to chuck the Nicene creed. I defiantly think "If I had to follow the OT, say Jesus hadn't come before this century, I would rather be a pagan." But what I do? I try to retreat to rationality and faith. I say, "what is the real source of my discomfort with OT, with Nicene creed?" I rethink the doubt and consider the options within a framework of keeping the faith. I realize most of the time its an emotional reaction, not a doctrinal crisis, but a theological crisis nonetheless. But the stark contrast is always there; I am a child of the sixties and so much of the church will always be the anti-Semites. On the other hand I know there is something good about that. Something about being able to see through the mistakes, the over stamtetns, the sentimentalities of youth.

Once I met a cult leader who was trying to impress me enough to get me into his cult. He told me "I am the ideals of your youth." I told him, "then you really are a fool." He took his groupies and left the place immediately. Whale I can't renounce the values, I understand that the way they played out in terms of emotion and sentiment was largely a problem with being young. For example, I'm glad the left take over rally. I want more restraint on capitalism, but I really don't want a worker's state. I think the system we have now could be so fine if people cared about clearing up the abuses of power. The kind of radical weather underground stuff I admired in Junior high was just insanity. While no singer has ever come along to truly replace Joan Baize and no song writer could replace Dylan, the subsequent generations have had their guys, some of them have been great; one of them is even a Dylan.

So finally I guess I have to just realize that this is just one of those irresolvable tensions that I'm going to have to live with. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time; right to be marked forever without he curse of the 60s. But while we have changed the world for the better, in many ways, I can understand why the more convective elements in the church are so afford of it. After all, that same movement that spawned liberation movements of all stripes changed the values of the country such that Americans and first world people will never look at sin the same way again. The church is forced re define sin, and to ponder problems of reconciliation with sinners in new ways. No generation before ours understood itself as made up of sensual individuals. Sentuanlity was a curse and something to keep quite. I don't think people will ever see it that way again. That is both good and bad. Good because God made us to be sensual people, and no where in his word does he say that's bad. But it is bad by soncqeunce because people not only want to throw off the surplus guilt of feeling sinful for having sexual urges, but also throw off the concept of sin and just do as they please.

The Sixties was like the garden of Eden all over again. If you eat this fruit, you will know good from evil, and knowing means you will experience both good and evil, you learn fits hand what's its all about; starting with estagement form God, and culminating in estrangement from each other, and from nature and the world around you, and even from the motive force of your being (labor becomes a curse). The first couple ate it, and so did we (although I guess we smoked it). Both times, all hell broke loose. I can understand why such a large segment of the church wants to go back to the good old days when kids were named things like Beaver, Wally, and Lumpy, and no problem of youth was so great that a good apology to Miss Launders wouldn't fix everything. I guess I'll just take this dilemma to the grave with me. It's my Mark of Cain form our own little fall in the sixties.

Doherty's Stupidity

The head Jesus myther Earl Doherty is either stupid, or dishonest. He uses the fact of redaction as some kind of "proof" that the Gosples have no historical evidence. All that was worked through by real scholars in the last century. No real scholar thinks the Gospels are just totally devoid of any historicity simpley because a process of redaction went on the communities that produced them.

Doherty tops is hand to show his ignorance when he quotes Hemut Koster, major textaul critic.

Only in Justin Martyr, writing in the 150s, do we find the first identifiable quotations from some of the Gospels, though he calls them simply "memoirs of the Apostles," with no names. And those quotations usually do not agree with the texts of the canonical versions we now have, showing that such documents were still undergoing evolution and revision. Scholars such as Helmut Koester have concluded that earlier "allusions" to Gospel-like material are likely floating traditions which themselves found their way into the written Gospels. (See Koester's Ancient Christian Gospels and his earlier Synoptische Uberlieferung bei den apostolischen Vatern.) Is it conceivable that the earliest account of Jesus' life and death could have been committed to writing as early as 70 (or even earlier, as some would like to have it), and yet the broader Christian world took almost a century to receive copies of it?

The problem is he quotes Koester as an authority. One would think he will Koester as an autority. But in the next breath says AD 70 is early, although concievable as the date for the first Gospel. But Koester himself is the guy who says that people were writting Gospels as early AD 50.Just see the same source.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Building a fense around Othdoxy

think unless you can understand and relate to frustration, you aren't going to really understand what I'm talking about. But my faith doesn't' really fit the church. It doesn't' really fit what Christianity is as I see it in American or what it's become.

Well, let me just cut to the chase. I have a major core argument that I. Leonard about I guess 1998 when I bought the Kestrel book Ancient Christian Gospels. The book itself is published in 1994. Well, I use this material on a lot of things because it works for many issues. I use it as an argument on the empty tomb. It proves that the church was talking about the empty tomb at least as far back as AD 50. But that means it had to be discussing it before that, because that's just wen they wrote it down.

To me this is a gain boon to apologetics. The only problem is, due to the nature of the material, one must make certain assumptions of a liberal nature, although we dot' have to go wild and become Baultmannians or Jesus Seminar heretics. The basic assumption would be that there was diversity in the early church, and that there are many sources and many attempts at writing Gospels. One can get that from the NT, both points. Luke says there were many attempts.

Here's how it works. Textual critics find in documents readings the form of which indicate an older layer of copying than the document itself. In other words, even though the Diatesseron was written about 170 AD, there are readings in it that are so old they indicate that it was copied from a doc that probably pre dated Mark. By "a reading" I mean the way its written.


The unknown Gospel of Egerton 2 was discovered in Egypt in 1935 exiting in two different manuscripts. The original editors found that the handwriting was that of a type from the late first early second century. In 1946 Goro Mayeda published a dissertation which argues for the independence of the readings from the canonical tradition. This has been debated since then and continues to be debated. Recently John B. Daniel's in his Claremont Dissertation argued for the independence of the readings from canonical sources. (John B. Daniel's, The Egatron Gospel: It's place in Early Christianity, Dissertation Clairmont: CA 1990). Daniel's states "egerton 2's Account of Jesus healing the leaper Plausibly represents a separate tradition which did not undergo Markan redaction...Compositional choices suggest that...[the author] did not make use of the Gospel of John in canonical form." (Daniels, abstract). The unknown Gospel of Egarton two is remarkable still further in that it mixes Johannie language with Synoptic contexts and vice versa. which, "permits the conjecture that the author knew all and everyone of the canonical Gospels." (Joachim Jeremias, Unknown Sayings, "An Unknown Gospel with Johannine Elements" in Hennecke-Schneemelcher-Wilson, NT Apocrypha 1.96). The Unknown Gospel preserves a tradition of Jesus healing the leper in Mark 1:40-44. (Note: The independent tradition in the Diatessaran was also of the healing of the leper). There is also a version of the statement about rendering unto Caesar. Space does not permit a detailed examination of the passages to really prove Koster's point here. But just to get a taste of the differences we are talking about:

Egatron 2: "And behold a leper came to him and said "Master Jesus, wandering with lepers and eating with them in the inn, I therefore became a leper. If you will I shall be clean. Accordingly the Lord said to him "I will, be clean" and immediately the leprosy left him.
Mark 1:40: And the leper came to him and beseeching him said '[master?] if you will you can make me clean. And he stretched out his hands and touched him and said "I will be clean" and immediately the leprosy left him.
Egatron 2: "tell us is it permitted to give to Kings what pertains to their rule? Tell us, should we give it? But Jesus knowing their intentions got angry and said "why do you call me teacher with your mouth and do not what I say"? Mark 12:13-15: Is it permitted to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay them or not? But knowing their hypocrisy he said to them "why do you put me to the test, show me the coin?"


"There are two solutions that are equally improbable. It is unlikely that the pericope in Egatron 2 is an independent older tradition. It is equally hard to imagine that anyone would have deliberately composed this apophthegma by selecting sentences from three different Gospel writings. There are no analogies to this kind of Gospel composition because this pericope is neither a harmony of parallels from different Gospels, nor is it a florogelium. If one wants to uphold the hypothesis of dependence upon written Gospels one would have to assume that the pericope was written form memory....What is decisive is that there is nothing in the pericope that reveals redactional features of any of the Gospels that parallels appear. The author of Papyrus Egatron 2 uses independent building blocks of sayings for the composition of this dialogue none of the blocks have been formed by the literary activity of any previous Gospel writer. If Papyrus Egarton 2 is not dependent upon the Fourth Gospel it is an important witness to an earlier stage of development of the dialogues of the fourth Gospel....(Koester , 3.2 p.215)

In other words, for reasons I wont go into, the Egerton 2 readign is deemed to be older than that of Mrk (primarily because it's seen as more Jewish). So through this method they find many readings which are in latter works, but the readings have clearly been preserved through redaction and come from a much elaier period.

Through this method we can prove that the empty tomb was part of the ealiset formation of written gospels and goes back to at least AD50, and so since that's just the beigning of the writing it had to be part of the older oral tradition and goes back to the very begining.

To me this is a valuable tool. The only price to pay is to figure out how much diversity was really part of the early church, and how much would really wreck Othodoxy? But since we are talking about the very early period, we can assume there was some diverity, especially since we see diverity in the NT. the Corinthians are not like the Galations, and they are not like the Jeruslaem Christians. Jeruslaem Christians were into keeping law, Asian minor Christians were getting into gnosticism and Corinthians were into liscncenous living.

So there was diverity and Luke says many attempted to write Gospels. In spite of that fact a certain Christian apologist who has often been an ally attacked me on CARM right in the middle of an atheist fire fight and totally destoyred my apolgoetical edge by claiming that there were no other goepels for 300 years! there were only the four and the chruch spoke with one voice and no diverity for 300 years. He then went on a long tirad about how these attempts to indotuduce other gospels hae got to stop.

In this argument that guy and another Christian helping him both proceeded to totally ingore the textual criticism and to look at the whole issue as a matter of competing sources of authority.

I want them to look at these non canonical gospels as lamps or pot shards, just artifacts that help us date something, it has nothing to do with underming the authroity of the Orhtodox chruch. Yet they went on to speak as though its a contest between the chruch fathers, (who say nothing about any of this) vs. these non canonical Gospels. they argue the CF's just aknolwedege four Gospels so that's all there are. Even tough Luke clealry says other people attempted writting them.

But this has nothing to do with authroity. I'm not trying to replace the canonical gospels with Gopsel of peter or thomas, 'm using them purely as artifacts but they can't even listen to what's beign said.

they they mutter veg bS about textual critgicism is no good.

But that just makes our apolgoetics a lie. Because how many times have we asserted for exxampe the FF Bruce thing about the texts being 98% valid? that comes from textual cirticism. Anyone using Criag for defense of the res is using work derived form info given by textual critics. So i think that's totally disingenous to put down a took and a method merely because it is somehow threating our sloganism.

It make me really angry and make me re consider where my allegence should lie? Should i really be spending my time arguing with atheits when my alledged allies really have a way of thinking that is totally anathama to me; that is authority matters more than facts.

I can't sand that. I feel I'm being smothered by an attempt to build a fense around othrodoxy. its not the doctirnes of Scirpture they are even defending but the fense they built around othodoxy which makes the chruch frathers into a supiror sor to scritprue that validates the olde scritprue by pronocing it true.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

the hidden nature of God and time paradox

Here's summary of my take on theodecy.

God wants us to seek hm in the heart so we will invernalitze (that means really believe) certain values that we would not get if we just were confronted with big proof of God's existence, but didn't have to make a leap of faith to believe.

so God wants us to seek and to rely on faith. That means he cant' make a worl din which it's totally obvious that he exists. There has to be room for dobut otherwise it would not be faith.

Moreover, in oder to carry this program, we have to be able to choose. That's because we can't seek and find and adopt internalized values if we dont' have to make moral choices. but choice means the posslbity of choosing wrongly. So that's why God is hidden and the world is screwed up.

But we could make the world a paradise overnight. if we all just follow Jesus everyting would be great.

what's your excuse?

no don't resort to circular reasoning and saying "I dont' believe" of course you don't because it's not obvious. But what are you doing about seeking God?

That's the upshot of what I call "soteriological drama."

On message board ( I find that some atheists are incredulous for several reasons. The main one seems to be that they've just accepted the bromides that evi in world has to equal no God. Some have accepted this to the point of calling me names not believing it. In fact, Holy Irony Batman, even though they are refussing to think about my answer, they accuse me of being the one not thinking becasue I am not buying their brmides uncritically. People are so funny arent' they?

One of the major arguments they make is the time thing. O if God knows the future than it's detemrinistic becuase God know it works out that way so it has to. It's like magic, God knows this so it can't work differently than God knows.

This is wha thtey are using on that board to blame God for sin. That's the context of the whole discussion, God is to blame for my sins because he knew I would committ them and that mean old God gavme me a chance to choose anyway.

The key there is I choose. God doesnt' choose for me. they wil admit this but still argue if God knows the outcome it must be deterministic. Doesnt' anyone read Beithius anymore?

But the time thing is stupid. Because we can change our minds, God will simpley know something differnt as the outcome. We do the chooseing. Moreover, God doesnt' know by magic. He either knows only by probalbity, in which case lots of things could change, or he knows by virture of his proximity to time. That's crucial because it means it's not happening out of some magic formula that says if God knows it has to be. It's happening because God really knows that's the way it happens. God knows what happens, that doestn' mean it makes it happen; we still do the choosing.

Of course a generation raised upon blaming the victim and refual to take resopnsibilty for one's own actions will always be able to blame authority figures for their own short comings.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Not enough shovels

One of the most absurd things that has caused me to lose respect for certain ones real fast is their reliance upon the childish epithet that I'm "defining God into existence." That is just so silly and really demonstrates their inanity to read or fathom an argument.

Now I can understand why they would say it with the Ontologial/cosmological arguments. Because that really play off of deftinitions. it's stil a far cry from "defying God into existence."

Their total lack of concern with arbitrary necessities shows their lack of respect for any kind of logic. But be that as it may, I can hesitate to fault them on those arguments. But the fact that they apply it to every God argument I make just shows how thoughtless they are.

For example, there is no way on God's green earth that that argument could apply to the TS argument. No way. Because it doesn't' turn on deditions. Of course defining some terms might come into it, as it comes into any argument, but the argument destine' turn on defossion.

Now turning on a definition doesn't mean I'm defying God into existence. But when an argument turns on a defossion its easier for them to resort to that catch phrase. but when an argument has nothing to do with that, it's just stupid.

Now the basic catch about the TS argument is that all he major thinkers who have ever written about the TS have said that God is an example of a TS, and that the TS is God.

That's just common knowledge, and we a find that in the lit as far back as Nicholas of Cuss (Renaissance) in Deride, and Fouctult and Husseral and Heidegger and Culler and just everyone whose ever written on the subject of the TS. I have a quote form Derrida saying so, it's on the site where the argument is listed.

But the fact is it's only logical that that would be the case since God's function in a metaphysical hierarchy is the same as that in the TS. So they have to be the same thing.

This is especially given the law of idneity which these guys never think about

Law of identity means A=A. A = A, A is A. A is not not A, A is A. thta means if two entities sahre the same ideinty, and that identity is mutually exclusive they are one and the same.

Example: Superman and Clark Kent share the same id; had the same parents, they had the same face, they have the same DNA they have the same finger prints, they are not two sperate people, therefore they are the same being, Thus "Clark Kent" is just another name for "Superman."

The premises that I have listed many times, and you can find this under predicates of the divine in my God section on DOA, are mutually exclusive.

There can only be one deity, there can only be one God. Godhood cannot be shared. why?

(1) God is the basis of all reality, there cannot be two basises of reality, they could contradiction each other (which is the basis of the other?)

(2) there can be only one "greatest being."

(3) There can be only one final cause (or prior conditions). Which one would be prior to the other if there were two?

Of course someone could try something funky like a committee of gods that start out together and everything is based upon them and they always think in tandem. But is that really a properly basic concept? Is that just tailored to mess up the argument? And what's the difference in a committee of Gods that always work in tandem, have the same origin, are always eternal, think the same way overtime, and one God magnets several times over, like a Trinity?

So it's a really stupid ploy. The upshot of all of this is, since identify is mutually exclusive for the divine, than anything that fits the criteria for the divine has to be God.

But that's where the atheists can't handle it because it means one can really sort of prove God exists. They can't take that. They have to insist upon a straw man God that obviously is silly and doesn't exist, otherwise wheat's the point of being an atheist? Where's the fun of atheism if you can't use it to feel superior to religious people?

So because of this Principe that God might be disguised and we miss him because we aren't looking for common things we know about like being, to be God, then the atheists have to charge that I'm just defying God into existence. But they can't show why it's an invalid move. All they can do is carp because they don't read the argument.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Atheist Refutation of my

While I do not intened to make my Blog into a repeat of everything I say on CARM, the previous argument was answered by CARM poster Chad, who tends to be very deep and sharp. I am always challenged in squaring off with him and we always have a good exchange. So here is his refutation of my view, and my defense of it.

Chad's speeches are marked by > (greater than)

>>1)God's purpose in creation: to create a Moral Universe,
>>is one in which free moral agents willingly choose the Good.
>But is this a good purpose in and of itself? Does God's wish
>to have a Moral Universe outweigh the suffering in it?

Logically it has too, unless you are a utilitarian. But I don't think God is a utilitarian. The reason it has to is because otherwise the immeidate ends will always overshadow the ultiamte ends, then we never get around to fufilling ultiamte ends.

>>(2) Moral choice requires absolutely that choice be free
>>free will is necessitated).
>Our choices are constrained in many ways. Thus, if choice
>must be free the theist bears at least some burden to explain
>why our choices are not completely free and why they could not
>be a little bit less free.

that's pretty self evident. Our choices are free enough. I mean the crucial choices that govern if we have sinned or not are absoltuely free. We may be screened in by many factors, genetic, circumstantial, environmental, but none of them lead us to actually sin at the movement of truth where we really have to decide. We have veto power over our actions, and that's a scientiifcally proven fact.

Oddly enough Dennettee proves that the will is free enough for moral decision making.

Human Nature Review 2003 Volume 3: 152-154 ( 14 March )
URL of this document

Book Review
Freedom Evolves
by Daniel C. Dennett
London, Allen Lane; New York, Viking Press, 2003.

Dennett’s principal thesis is that free will is an ability that human beings, and only human beings, have as a result of their evolutionary history. The ability to act freely, as Dennett understands it, is the ability to negotiate obstacles in the world successfully. It is, as he says, the power to make what was formerly inevitable into the ‘evitable’. This is a power that comes in degrees. Inanimate matter possesses none of it, bacteria possess a little, as a consequence of their ability to detect danger and to propel themselves away from it. Human beings have a great deal of this power, as a result of our ability to anticipate the consequences of our actions and to modify them accordingly. This ability, to construct counterfactuals of great complexity and to model the actions of thousands of interacting forces and agents, is what gives us free will, in the only sense that matters. It allows us, and requires us, to shape our actions to our moral obligations.

>An easy example would be a chemical trigger in the brain that
>caused would-be rapists to lose their ability to rape.

How could that possibly be expalined? Probably there is one already. But we have to figure out how to trigger it. but to have one that works perfectly and automatically, that's getting close to the designer label concpet, and the whole basis of the argument is to explain why God doesn't leave deisnger labels in the universe.

>>(3) Allowence of free chioces requires the risk that the
>>chooser will make evil chioces
>God has created beings who never choose to do truly heinous
>things. Why not create only such beings? Is it your
>position that God is incapable of creating "nice" people
>without also creating sociopaths and serial rapists?

but God didn't specifically set up an assymbly line for the explicit purpose of making a certian number of people who will never choose to be really bad. That's a matter of temperment and of spirutal choices. So the orignal anlaysis still applies, to have moral agency requries allowing the risk that moral agency will be misused.

>>(4)The possiblity of evil choices is a risk God must run,
>>the value of free outweighs all other considerations, since
>>without there would be no moral universe and the purpsoe of
>>creation would be thwarted.
>Again, the statement that the "purpose of creation" outweighs
>the suffering of the created is merely an assertion. On what
>basis do God's preferences justify rape, torture, etc.?

seems pretty self evident to me. If not, then it would mean God is a rotter. If has to be the case that some things outweight pain. We know that they do anyway, because we as moral agnets often volunteer to accept pain in exchnage for achieving some other end.

>>This leaves the atheist in the position of demanding to know
>>why God doesn't just tell everyone that he's there, and that
>>he requires moral behavior, and what that entials. Thus
>>would be no mystery and people would be much less inclinded
>The atheist can also raise the questions above.


>>This is the point where Soteriological Drama figures into
>>Argument on Soteriological Drama:
>>(1) Life is a "Drama" not for the sake of entertainment, but
>>in the sense that a dramatic tention exists between our
>>ordinary observations of life on a daily basis, and the
>>ultiamte goals, ends and puroses for which we are on this
>>(2) Clearly God wants us to seek on a level other than the
>>obvious, daily, demonstrative level or he would have made
>>situation more plain to us
>Does this mean you don't believe in the Biblical stories in
>which God clearly demonstrated himself in rather obvious

which stories? I am not aware of any story in which God made himself irrefutably aware to the entire world population. God can, or has to make himself known to some number of peple at some point in order to act in the world. But I'm talking about thing that would make God's existence as obvious as gavity to the entire population of the world.

>>(3) We can assume that the reason for the "big mystery" is
>>internalization of choices. If God appeared to the world in
>>open objective fashion and laid down the rules, we would
>>probalby all try to follow them, but we would not want to
>>follow them. Thus our obedience would be lip service and not
>>from teh heart.
>I find this baffling. Knowing that someone exists doesn't
>eliminate the potential to form a deep and meaningful
>relationship with him/her.

No everyone wants that. A lot of people are selfish and want their own pleasures above anyting else. They would fain obeidence, but in their hearts they would resent the need to fain obidence. God's way assumes that eveyone who is in the kingdom of God wants to be there because they all willinglly seek the good.

>Don't theists -- who are utterly convinced that God exists --
>want to obey him? Why then do so many of them argue that we
>can only want to obey God if he remains hidden in some way?

I beleive I just cleared that up. It's not that he has to remain hidden, it's that making himself too obvoious would cheat the need to internalize values.

Don't forget there's more to that issue as well, such as the nature of God as beyond the threhold of human understanding in the first place.

>>(4) therefore, God wants a heart felt response which is
>>internatilized value system that comes through the search
>>existential answers; that search is phenomenological;
>>intetrsubective, internal, not amienable to ordinary
>>demonstrative evidence.
>Two girls were recently raped in a bathroom in New Orleans,
>while many refugees stood by and did nothing. Was the ability
>of the rapist to choose to rape (or not) and the ability of
>the others to choose to do nothing (or something) more
>important than the suffering those girls experienced?

the ability to make the choice is more important than the pain of the choice being made, of course! what are we saying here. We are saying that it's more important to have free will, even though it means some people get hur tby some people's free choices, than to be robots and have no pain but no choices.

Now think about it, this is just a mimicking of utilitarian dictim, greatest good for the greaest number. After all, if not for the ability to choose freely, human freedom, we would not have personal fuflillment. What is the value of the absense of pain at the expense of the absense of pelaure or fufillment? If you value free thought at all I would think you could see that!

>>This pertians to natural disassters in the same manner. In
>>order to further the daram, the world must be a real world.
>>must have to take life and nature on their own terms without
>>speicail intervention everytime something goes wrong. That
>>sort of intervention might come, but only on a personal
>>level, and only in response to faith and other factors that
>>have to be lined up according to God's will. So in general
>>have to live in a real world, that is a naturalistic world,
>>and we have to take it on its own terms, and use our faith
>>a guide to make it through the stroms and stresses of this
>So in order for us to be able to choose God we have to live on
>a planet with fault lines, floods, etc.?

well we do live on such a plaent. We evoled here as part of the place. We have to take it on its own terms.

>Aside from the implausability of that argument, it boils down
>to the normal theist line of defense -- it's God's universe so
>he can do what he wants with it. If he wants to torture you,
>he can and you shouldn't presume to complain about it.
why are you so stuborn? I clealry just got through demonstrating something that is totally missing in the typical FWD and then you go "It just boils down to the typical theist line of defense." no it bleeding doesn't!!!

It boils down to the need for internatlization of values which necessitates taking life on its own terms in the mateiral world and seeking God in your heart; because there are traces of God in this world, if we look for them. But atheists spend all their time being sceptical of everything and so can never see them until they get over their game playing.

Soterioloical Drama: New Oreleans style

Like most of us, I've been mezmorized by images of death, destruction, heart ache and extreme loss and human suffering. I've been moved to tears and so overwhealmed I couldn't stand to look, but like a drivering creeping by a bad wreck, could not turn away. Hour after hour watching to the same storeis, listening to the same reports, feeling helpless. Of course at the back, and sometimes the forefront, of my thinking in all of this "why does God let this happen?" I think we all ask this at such times. I do.

A poster on CARM called "Phyicist" says:

"Any Theist that defines his/her god(s) as being all-powerful
>and all-good must deal with the existence of suffering
>permitted by this Being(s). Of course, we have all heard the
>standard Apologist explanations to attempt to overcome this
>contradiction. Now, the most recent issue of the Skeptical
>Inquirer demonstrates that the exact same arguments used by
>the Apologist for the all-good god(s) can be equally applied
>to show that the god(s) is all-bad. Simply take the apologist
>argument and permute good and evil in it.
>The all-good god(s) allows suffering so that certain good
>tendencies (e.g. mercy, bravery) in people can be
>The all-bad god(s) allow some goodness to happen so that
>people will commit evil in new ways (e, g. avarice,
>Of course the point of the article is that the real world does
>not support either argument."

Of course that's a sraw man argument.

they never deal with the real issues, which is soterilogical drama. my argument of soteriological drama answers the theodecy quetsion.

soteriological Drama on Doxa

1)God's purpose in creation: to create a Moral Universe, that is one in which free moral agents willingly choose the Good.

(2) Moral choice requires absolutely that choice be free (thus free will is necessitated).

(3) Allowence of free chioces requires the risk that the chooser will make evil chioces

(4)The possiblity of evil choices is a risk God must run, thus the value of free outweighs all other considerations, since without there would be no moral universe and the purpsoe of creation would be thwarted.

This leaves the atheist in the position of demanding to know why God doesn't just tell everyone that he's there, and that he requires moral behavior, and what that entials. Thus there would be no mystery and people would be much less inclinded to sin.

This is the point where Soteriological Drama figures into it.
Argument on Soteriological Drama:

(1) Life is a "Drama" not for the sake of entertainment, but in the sense that a dramatic tention exists between our ordinary observations of life on a daily basis, and the ultiamte goals, ends and puroses for which we are on this earth.

(2) Clearly God wants us to seek on a level other than the obvious, daily, demonstrative level or he would have made the situation more plain to us

(3) We can assume that the reason for the "big mystery" is the internalization of choices. If God appeared to the world in open objective fashion and laid down the rules, we would probalby all try to follow them, but we would not want to follow them. Thus our obedience would be lip service and not from teh heart.

(4) therefore, God wants a heart felt response which is internatilized value system that comes through the search for existential answers; that search is phenomenological; intetrsubective, internal, not amienable to ordinary demonstrative evidence.

This pertians to natural disassters in the same manner. In order to further the daram, the world must be a real world. We must have to take life and nature on their own terms without speicail intervention everytime something goes wrong. That sort of intervention might come, but only on a personal level, and only in response to faith and other factors that have to be lined up according to God's will. So in general we have to live in a real world, that is a naturalistic world, and we have to take it on its own terms, and use our faith as a guide to make it through the stroms and stresses of this life.