Saturday, May 27, 2006

Why Dosn't God heal Stupidity?

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I continue to get comments on this.It seems atheists are so very stuck on thier little excuse. This is a sure fire excuse because there's not likely to be any real refutation in terms of big examples of amputees getting limbs back, and they don't have to think very deeply.Just decalir God not to exist and move on. But it's totally irrational way God has to make limbs grow back when any miracle will prove God exists. It's also irrational way a new pair of lungs grown overnight isn't good enough? why is a new limb they thing that will do? that is totally irrational.

I still get comments on this, but I will tell, save your fingers because I will not post them.

I continue to be concerned about what is happening in the atheist community. Since I'm perceived as an enemy of their community, or at least not member, they tend to not listen to me. I have hinted at the pure hatred I've found vented against me while seeking good message board discussion. Now I find a website that is so brazen in its attempt to wish away God that it really exceeds anything I thought I would see. They have developed a real talisman which is a magic formula to wish God away. It's a magic King's X. Here is a problem no Christian can answer, and until one does, God is disproved. How? By wishing:

from "why wont God Heal Amputees?

Think about it this way. The Bible clearly promises that God answers prayers. For example, in Mark 11:24 Jesus says, "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." And billions of Christians believe these promises. You can find thousands of books, magazine articles and Web sites talking about the power of prayer. According to believers, God is answering millions of their prayers every day. Prayer seems to be especially powerful in the medical arena -- God eliminates cancers, kills viruses, reverses the effects of poisons, heals internal organs, repairs injuries, etc.

The question, therefore, is simple: If God promises to answer prayers, and if God is healing cancers and solving all of these other problems in response to prayer, then what happens if we pray to God to restore amputated limbs?

It is easy to see what happens: Nothing. You can simply look at the world with a scientific eye and note that amputees' limbs are never restored through prayer. If you want to be more rigorous, you can search every medical journal electronically. You will find that there has never been a documented case of an amputated limb spontaneously regenerating.

wow, empirical proof! Right before your eyes, God is proven not to exist, and scientific experiment the whole works. Now why didn't I think to do that?

I have also ventured onto their message board. I find there a very curious thing. I was immediately attacked as a troll. All the threads are bitter attacks against Christianity. I was trying to raise civil discussion about certain issues. Now in all fairness the administration did not tell me I was doing wrong. In fact they were very fair. But the posters unanimously attacked me. I find they define troll as "sowing discord" and that means raising questions they don't want to hear. I am not making this up. They are so battered and bruised by apologists that they can't allow a contrary view. They just want to be left alone to simmer in their juices and hate God in peace. One guy said to me, when out flanked with gobs of evidence, "you are are just raising things we've put to rest before." The issue was my temporal beginning argument. They argue that there is no such thing as cause and effect. They also argue that time is not marked by change, but change is marked by time. So causes don't' proceed effects and the future is acting upon the past. If that's the case how can they tell if amputees are healed or not? Maybe the time before they lost their limbs is their healing?

The site goes on:

Why would Jesus promise to answer prayers in so many places in the Bible, yet completely ignore every single prayer to regenerate a lost limb?

(1) The Bible promises to give us anything we want in prayer

(2) This doesn't work

(3) therefore there is no God.

The hallmark of the argument is punctuated by the "close your eyes, pray real hard fora bannan split to appear before you...did it? No. see, God is imaginary, this proves it." I prayed for a banana split, and I got one. Just my luck it as "Flegal" from the old "bannsplit" live actor Saturday morning cartoon of the late 60's.

There are several fallacies involved here:

(1) Bad assumption about the nature of God

The assume is that God is big wish fulfillment machine in the sky, or Santa clause or Dr. feelgood to old grandfather just waiting to give us whatever we want. The Bible never promises any such thing.It also assumes that God is the God of the fundie, big guy on a thorne who thinks through ratiocination and who is just waiting for each of us as him for a pink Cadillac.

God is none of those things. Prayer and healing or not happiness dispensers. The point of healing is never just the particular individual who get's healed. The point people make "why doesn't God empty all the hospitals" is part of the general theodicy problem (the problem of pani and evil) and that is still answered by my soteriolgoical drama argument. I suggest you read it this time. Prayer is communion with God. Petitioning and imploring God for aid are part of that process but they are not the only part. God heals out of compassion but always with a larger plan in mind. God is not seeking to empty the hospitals. Read the link and see why.

(2) Bad assumptions about the Bible.

this site takes the most literalistic approach. The bible said it, I believe, (except I don;t but to prove a point) and that settles it. what a fundie! The person who wrote that site has a narrow literalistic reading of scripture that would put the most narrow fundes to shame.

There are verses that say things like "if you believe and do not doubt you can say to that mountain be cast into the sea and it will be." But, barring interpolation, which is entirely possible I really haven't checked, these are clearly not literal passages. Why? Mountains are usually symbolic in the Bible, so moving mountains is a symbol of moving problems, moving obstructions. It's clearly hyperballie, because said moving would clearly depend upon God's purpose.

James "says why don't you get want you want when you pray? Because you pray amiss. Why? you pray selfishly and without faith. God is not a wish machine.

If I was an inerrantist and thought there could be no mistakes in the Bible that might be a point. But the Bible is not a memo dictated from the "big man upstairs." The Bible is a collection of writngs which reflect human/divine encounter. Some of these are directly inspried in vergabe, some are not. Some are mythical some are poetic some are historical. We can't just assume this say this therefore that's that. It's only a problem for an inerentist.

(3) False assumptions about healing

A lot of people assume that healing is just to cure all sickness and God isn't up to it. Or that God would heal everyone he has some petty motive, people or too sinful, or something.. The point of healing is not to end all sickness. The point is the relation between the spiritual and the way the sick person is guided in life. this sort of answer is mocked by that website because it requires subtle understanding. It's easier to mock things rather than try and understand complex subtleties. God is trying to bring together everything in our lives at a point that will give us the optimum chance to know him, to get our lives together and to find ourselves.

this process requires a lot of things. One must be "in the zone" to be healed. What is that? (my own term, not standard theological parlance). Several things have to stack up at once, not just faith, although that is one, but also being in God's timing, and other things.we don't necessarily know all the things that have to stack up. The overall point is that God uses healing like a tool toward a higher purpose, it's not just chart Blanch on healing.

(4) False assumptions about amputees

I don't know that God doesn't heal amputees. I'm sure it's rare, but then it just stands to reason that it would take a lot of faith. Jesus said you only need a little (mustard seed) but he also said you have to use it. It would take a lot of faith to equal a little at times.

Atheists complain about how one never hears of healing amputees. When I do hear of such things, or similar things (growing new lungs, revitalized and raised from the dead from skeleton) all they do is complain about the sources. I can't blame them on the latter. The lungs thing is good evidence. although not best evidence. this is a hobby we have to make due.

St. Anthony is said to have healed amputees, but of course they have a ready made "out" on that one because its' so old it must be a legond! But they can no longer say "I never hear of it." If there is some special reason why God just doesn't heal amputees, and I don't believe there is other than what I've described, it might be that there are natural structures and structures have their limits. But I don't think it wise to limit God and say "God can't do this" Or God doesn't do this. He can, maybe he does, but not often and not around reporters.

The "why doesn't God heal Amputees" site has answers that are suppossedly aimed at the kind of complex spiriutally based answer I've given. Of course they fall woefully short because the author insitss upon making everything as shallow as possilbe.

Here's one of the so called "stock answers." Most of them are not what I argued, but here's oen that's somewhat close, although like I saud, it reduces a complex position to stupidified simplicity.

Here is another explanation that you might have heard: "God needs to remain hidden -- restoring an amputated limb would be too obvious." We will discuss this idea in more detail in later chapters, but let's touch on it here. Does God need to remain hidden?

Now is the idea that God needs to be hidden? It's really that there has to be a choice between faith and doubt. There has to be a search in the heart so the values of God are internalized. That's not quite the same as saying "God has to be hidden." Because in that view God can make himself known but in such a way that some faith is still required.

That does not seem to be the case. In general, God seems to have no problem doing things that are obvious. Think about the Bible. Writing the Bible and having billions of copies published all over the world is obvious.

It would be if God really did it. But using people to do it is kind of a failsafe isn't it? If God really did that then why don't you believe/ Duh? Because he used people. See how it works? Isn't that clever?

So is parting the Red Sea. So is carving the Ten Commandments on stone tables.

Except that it was so long ago and so far away, no one around today saw it. So it's like it didn't happen. what do you need to believe? Hmmm? (the "F" word right?)

So is sending your son to earth and having him perform dozens of recorded miracles. And so on. It makes no sense for a God in hiding to incarnate himself, or to do these other obvious things. Why send your son to earth, and then write a book that talks all about his exploits, if you are trying to hide?

so why don't you believe? If it's all so obvious why are you an atheist?

don't you see how shallow this is? this is not the way to think about this stuff! He's taking the easy targets the stupid people the most fundie ideas, the most ignorant ideas and he's simplified the intelligent ideas so they don't mean anything anymore. playing fast and loose with the facts and just ignoring any kind of obvious refutation.

In the same way, any medical miracle that God performs today is obvious. The removal of a cancerous tumor is obvious because it is measurable. One month the tumor is visible to everyone on the X-ray, and the next month it is not. If God eliminated the tumor, then it is openly obvious to everyone who sees the X-ray. There is nothing "hidden" about removing a tumor. So, why not regenerate a leg in an equally open way? If God intervenes with cancer patients to remove cancerous tumors in response to prayers, then why wouldn't God also intervene with amputees to regenerate lost limbs?

It still has deniability. that's obvious because you deny it.

If that's so obvious what makes you think you wouldn't deny healing an amputee?

also let's be sure not to forget the way the site over simplifies the statments about "promises to work miracles." Almost all of them are figurative, metaphor. Clearly moving mountains is not literal even Jesus never did that. Mountains are often symbols in the Bible.

I will give you the desires of your heart doesn't mean if you want a milk shake to appear before you magically it will. God never promises to be a little magic genie and give you any wish you want.

Some people might say, "Everyone's life serves God in different ways. Perhaps God uses amputees to teach us something. God must have a higher purpose for amputees." That may be the case -- God may be trying to send a message. But, again, it seems odd that he would single out this one group of people to handle the delivery. To quote Marilyn Hickey once again:

My argument wasnt' God is trying to teach you something, but that God puts us in the optimum sitaution to be drawn to him. That's not quite the same. So there may be some people for whom losing a limb does this, but I woudlnt' try to hang that lable on all amputees.

Most of these arguments have to be subtle because you lable people with them and if the lable doesnt' fit you can hur them.

No matter what has happened in your past, no matter what is happening in your present, seek out your heavenly Father in prayer as often as you can. Take my word for it -- He loves you and wants to answer your prayers. [ref]
You see this logic all the time in inspirational literature and hear it every Sunday at thousands of churches: "God loves you! God hears your prayers and will answer them for you!" See this article for an example. Yet, for some reason, miracles never happen when it comes to regenerating lost limbs. It does not seem to make sense that amputees would be cut off from the blessings that Jesus promises in the Bible. And it also does not mesh with all of the prayers that Jesus seems to be answering for other people.

so he's assuming that amputees are just amputees, they have no other aspects to their lives. so if they don't get the limbs regenerated its all over. But I said there may be SOME people for whom losing a limb can help them come to palce where they find God. I dont' know how I'm only asuming it for soem.

why should we not assume God loves us/ If we feel the love of God and changes our lives and makes us better, why should we not assume this is true, that God loves us?

But to say God doens't love this one group because he wonjt chang ethis one thing (and I dont' know that he wont) is just shoallow. Those are people. God can answers any number of prayers they pray and heal them in any number of ways, Just he doens't do that one thing, if indeed he doesn't. I'm not convneced the premise is

I know God is real and I know that I know that I know. I've experienced the power of God and I know. I was an atheist, that's why I got saved. I was a very skeptical thoughtful atheist. But the power of God was stronger than my obstinate streak

Be sure and check out my miracle pages with good scientific evidence that God heals.

God Heals everbody in one way or another

Friday, May 26, 2006

Science vs. Method

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I don't think atheists care about evidence. Evidence just means that one has something to reason from. What atheists demand is absolute proof, and at a level that can't be given for anything. I would bet that if for some reason atheists didn't like science, no amount of scientific "proof" wood suffice to prove to them that science works; because they would demand absolute proof, which can't be gotten.

In thinking about the two other threads I initiative over the last few days, and the atheist take on my arguments and their 'dicing' of my thought processes, and their refusal to acknowledge standard resiances that I give all the time, I find the following state of affairs to be a good description of the current state of dialectic between atheists and theists on the boards:

(1) Theists have a vast array of knowledge and argumentation built up over 2000 years, which basically amounts to a ton evidence for the existence of God. It's not absolute proof, because true, sure enough, actual absolute proof is just damn hard to come by on anything--even most scientific things; which is why they invented inductive reasoning. Science accepts correlation's as signs of caudal relationships, it doesn't ever actually observe causality at work. But that kind of indicative relationship is not good for atheists when a God argument is involved. Then it must be absolute demonstration and direct observation.

(2) This double standard always works in favor of the atheist and never in favor of the theist. I suspect that's because Theists are trying to persuade atheists that a certain state of affairs is the case, and at the same time we are apt to be less critical of our own reasons for believing that. Atheists make a habit of denial and pride themselves on it.

Why is it a double standard? Because when it works to establish a unified system of naturalistic observation the atheist is only too happy to appeal to "we never see" "we always see" and "there is a strong correlation." We never see a man raised from the dead. We never see a severed limb restored. The correlation's between naturalistic cause and effect are rock solid and always work, so science gives us truth, and religion doesn't. But when those same kinds of correlation's are used to support a God argument, they are just no darn good. to wit: we never see anything pop out of absolute noting, we never even see absolute nothing, even QM particles seem to emerge from prior conditions such as Vacuum flux, so they are not really proof of something form nothing. But O tisg tosh, that doesn't prove anything and certainly QM proves that the universe could just pop up out of nothing!

(3) "laws of physics" are not real laws, they are only descriptions, aggregates of our observations. So they can't be used to argue for God in any way. But, when it comes to miraculous claims, the observations of such must always be discounted because they violate our standard norm for observation, and we must always assume they are wrong no matter how well documented or how inexplicable. We must always assume that only naturalistic events can happen, even though the whole concept of a naturalism can only be nothing more than an aggregate of our observations about the world; and surely they are anything but exhaustive. Thus one wood think that since our observations are not enough to establish immutable laws of the universe, they would not be enough to establish a metaphysics which says that only material realms exist and only materially caused events can happen! But guess again...!

(4) The Theistic panoply of argumentation is a going concern. Quentin Smith, the top atheist philosopher says that 80% of philosophers today are theists. But when one uses philosophy in a God argument, it's just some left over junk from the middle ages; even though my God arguments are based upon S 5 modal logic which didn't exist even before the 1960s and most of the major God arguers are still living.

(5) They pooh pooh philosophy because it doesn't' produce objective concrete results. But they can't produce any scientific evidence to answer the most basic philosophical questions, and the more adept atheists will admit that it isn't the job of science to answer those questions anyway. Scientific evidence cannot give us answers on the most basic philosophical questions, rather than seeing this as a failing in science (or better yet, evidence of differing magister) they rather just chalice it up to the failing of the question! The question is no good because our methods dot' answer it!

(6) What it appears to me is the case is this; some methods are better tailed for philosophy. Those methods are more likely to yield a God argument and even a rational warrant for belief, because God is a philosophical question and not a scientific one. God is a matter of faint, after all, and in matters of faith a rational warrant is the best one should even hope for. But that's not good enough for atheists, they disparage the whole idea of a philosophical question (at least the scientistic ones do--that's not all of them, but some) yet they want an open ended universe with no hard and fast truth and no hard and fast morality!

(7)So it seems that if one accepts certain methods one can prove God within the nature of that language game. now of course one can reject those language games and choose others that are not quite as cozy with the divine and that's OK too. Niether approach is indicative of one's intelligence or one's morality. But, it does mean that since it may be just as rational given the choice of axioms and methodologies, then what that taps out to is belief in God is rationally warrented--it may not be only rational conclusion but it is one ratinal conclusion Now i know all these guys like Barron and HRG will say "hey I'm fine with that." But then when push comes to shove they will be back again insisting that the lack of absolute proof leaves the method that yields God arguments in doubt, rather than the other way around. I don't see why either should be privileged. Why can't we just say that one method is better suited for one kind of question, the other for the other?

and if one of them says 'why should I ask those questions?' I say 'why shouldn't we leave the choice of questions to the questioner?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The "Boom ba" guy is an idiot

He's really quite stupid. Because last three days in row my hits were (unique visits) 32, 30, 32. Now after he comes along the days not even over and I have 78. Its' that way evertime the moron does his thing. All he's doing is bringing me more readers.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Atheist absense of Belief is Presence of Belief

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Thomas S. Kuhn

Atheist trade constantly upon their lack of belief. It's the absense of a belief sothey have no burden of proof, they are merely sketpically asking questions, they have nothing to prove. But Derrida shows us that absence is a form of presence. In tendeing their lack of beliefs as an unassailble world view pradigm they forge a posative beilef system out of doubt.
Atheists are always saying we can't prove God, there's no reason to believe in God, ect. There is a particular atheist on a message board that I frequent, who is fond of saying that he was so disappointed when he realized there was no basis for belief in God. But when one trys to make arguments for God, of course like most atheists, he resists them no matter how logical they seem. Well that's fair enough and to be expected. But he does on other thing that used ot drive me up the wall, but now I understand it. He moves the bar further and further until there is no meaning left in even considering the question of God. Let me give an example:

He demanded scientific proof of miracles. I gave him the Lourdes evidence which was once published on this blog. Best doctors in Eroupe, strict rules, nothing but the best medical evidence, rules control for remission. but that not only was this not good enough but he says "you only show curing cancer and things. That's what I would expect form some sort of placebo or mental powers. But why can't you show restored limbs?"

I say well here's a case in a saint making miracle. The saint making miracles have the same rules and the same sort of committee that the Lourdes miracles have. They are just as well documented and studied scientifically. In this case a man grew back a lung. He had a form of black lung, his lungs were collapsing and used up. Over night the tissue all regenerated and became like new again. That does not happen. But the guy only says "it's not a leg or an arm." So I find this book where a minister in Africa reports that whole people dead for years were restored not only to life but flesh and blood after being skeletons. He says "you believe that?" Actually no I think the book is bs and its' probably not very well documented. To be honest I haven't read it. But i prefaced the material by saying this and saying "I don't believe this but since you claim one never hears of it, here, now you have at least heard it said." But see, even when he get's what he wants, he doesn't believe it. I dont' blame him in this case, but he didn't believe the lung and that's backe dup by the best miracle documentation machine in the world.

The point is this kind of theist just keeps raising the bar until its so high he knows it will never be met. He actually said only empirical evidence would count for proof of God. So now he doesn't have to contend with the ontological argument or any form of deductive argument. What of empirical proof? As it turns out it's like this.He proposes a test that would prove God and that test is this. Pray that God will bring back from the dead everyone who died before 1980. When we see all people walking around we will know. They can also be given their memories of heaven and of hell so we will know about it. But one wonders why not just end the world? Then we all know for sure. In fact why create one at all, then there would no need to know. We can discuss all kinds of reasons why God is not going to raise the bar to that level. My argument on soteriolgocal drama explains it pretty well.

The point is he knows this bar will never be met. It's a totally unreasonable standard of proof, and is of course justified by the bogus er zots dictim "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof." But the fact is while this amazing height goes begging real evidence that would supply a rationally warranted belif is totally ignored merely because it's not amazing enough.

What I realized was that what he's doing with the rational evidence, that he totally ignores, is nothing more than Kuhn says science does with anomalies. He's absorbing them into the paradigm. Thomas S. Kuhn (1822-1996)was a historian of science. The popularity of his theory has subsided over the last ten years, but at one point,in the early 90's, he was considered the major thinker in philosophy of science.. He also gave us the phrase "paradigm shift."

Kuhn said that science works like learning models of child psychologist Pierge. OR rather, science works like political revolution. We make a model of how we think things work, we absorb contradictions into it until we can no longer do so then we change it. When the paradigm shifts we are in a totally new conceptual universe. Thus the idiotic wacky ideas that were snubed in the old paradigm, the contradictions, the half backed speculations, become the new facts. When the paradigm is assailed the faithful do damage control. when the paradigm shifts it's just a revolution, a new regimen takes charge.

The atheists are treating evidence for God in the same manner. Kuhn says that every paradigm has anomalies. The anomalies are absorbed into the paradigm until it can no longer absorb them, then the paradigm shifts and we get a whole new conceptual universe. The atheist I speak of above was presented with my 300 studies which show that religious experience is transfomative, life long, and makes for better and mental and physical health and self authentication. This this is just water off a duck's back to this guy. It means aboslutely nothing. He merely absorbs it into the paradigm by saying "its all psycholgoical" and that's that. But the real proof would be if God would re arrange the starst to spell out "I am really here." Like that's really goning to happen. No, of course he knows it wont. Thus he has absorbed the anomalies into the paradigm and set up a situation in which no amount of anomalie will ever turn the paradigm.

This last move is just the atheist version of a non falsifiable beleif system. That is exaclty right, this is merely the atheist version of the fundie who says "I can't prove God, but you can't disprove him." So nothing will ever count against the belief Since atheism is the absence of belief, although it works out as Derrida teaches us, absense is presence. So the absense of a belief becomes a posative belief. The paradigm of anturalism is formed and becomes the materialist project that must be defended. This atheist inslulates himself in such a way that he will never have to deal with paradigm shift becasue all the anomilies in the world wont make the stars sepll out anything. Yet, a beilef stystem that cannot be falisified or veified cannot mean much either. The system is obviously just contrived.

What's with the crockadile tears about "I was so shattered when I found I had no basis to bleieve any longer?" Maybe thats' what he's seeking, a system that cannot be assailed. But it has yet to dawn upon him that such a system is not proven either. In short, he's building a faith. This is the athiesm of faith, not of reason. This is actaully the diametical oppossite of what atheim is suppossed to be about.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I have met my prima facie burden: it is now the atheist burden of proof

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(the refernces to Matty are from the Thomas Reid Project:quotes from G.J. Matty, Philosphy, UC Davis)

My argument is that I have met my Prima facie burden in any one of my God arguments, so it now becomes the atheist's burden to prove that these are inadaqute.

Note on Prima Facie;

Prima Facie Justification.

Mattey again:

Far from concluding that our senses are "fallacious," Reid placed them on the same footing as memory and reason, though they are "undervalued" by philosophers because "the informations of sense are common to the philosopher and to the most illiterate. . . . Nature likewise forces our belief in those informations, and all the attempts of philosophy to weaken it are fruitless and in vain."

"Reid pointed out that when we fall into error regarding the objects of sense, we correct our errors "by more accurate attention to the informations we may receive by our senses themselves." So the "original and natural judgments" that are made on the basis of our constitution lose their original justification in the presence of additional information. Contemporary philosophers call this kind of justification "prima facie," a term from law which describes an initially plausible case that could prove to be entirely implausible given further evidence. A belief of common sense, then, is justified "on the face of it."

"According to the doctrine of prima facie justification, one is justified in accepting that things are the way they appear, when

* it does appear to one that they are that way, and
* there is no reason to think that something has gone wrong.


"But if there is such a reason, one's justification is "defeated." Thus prima facie justification is "defeasible."

"For Reid, our beliefs about physical objects are justified by sense-experience, which he took to be a product of the interaction between the senses and physical objects. Twentieth-century philosophers have been somewhat more cautious, however, and have followed more closely the account of perceptual knowledge given by Reid's predecessors such as Descartes, Locke and Hume: that what justifies our beliefs about physical objects is a mental state such as:

* looking like something is red
* a sensation of red
* seeing red-ly"

"For example, what justifies a person in believing that he sees something red is that it looks to him as though there is something red. The mental state of that person is one in which there is an appearance of red, and just being in this mental state is enough to give prima facie justification to the belief that he really sees something red. On the other hand, what confers justification might be a belief about how things appear."

Anyone of my arguments establishes it. I have 40 and they have not been ansered.

(1) Arbitrary necessity:

I put this up the other day all anyone could do to it was to deny the basci N/c dichotomy, which is irratioanl because these are basic modal opporaters.

(2) Transcendental Singifier argument

The attacks on this argument went no where. I proved that God functions as the TS and that we cannot escape having a TS if we expect to communicate ratinoally.

(3) Ground of Being

this argument was zapped because I was mistaken about the number of threads i could do.

That's ok but it's been argued so many times. All anyone can do si act offended by the termenology, but no one ever comes to terms with the argument:

(a) the distinction between the infinite nature of being as an absract concept
vs. t he finitude of human being evokes the sense of the numinous.

evokotion of the numinous is a genuine religious experince

(c) thus
being being itself evokes religious expeirnce and thus is a valid object of
religious devotion.

Oddly enough no one has really tried to address the premise that the burden of proof can be reversed. They seem to accept hat easily enough, but continue to say the same old things about the arguments. It really doesn't matter of the arguments one uses. I have 40 of them and any of them will do. I used these three because the seem to me to be deductive a priori and absolute such that one could almost abandon the ploy of only arguing for "rational warrant" and say "this is proven, QED, however that would be unwise.

Here is a quick summary of what atheists are saying to these arguments now:

(1) Arbitrary necessity

The most infuriating practice is the rejection of the dichotomy. After much wrangling, with a certain atheist saying "I don't recognize the premise" (which is that there is a distinction between necessity and contingency) and myself saying "it's the basis of modal logic, these are modal operators," finally admits it's formally true, but trivial and not important. To me this is just the proof of living in denial. These are the basis of modal logic, to say "this is only trivial" is like saying all evidence is trivial. I'm sure he would probably says that. He once said "speak for yourself" when a Christian said "well can't just believe in nothing?"

Their only defense against the argument is to merely deny the dichotomy even though its' at the center of logic. Another atheist argues that God is an arbitrary necessity, but he shows his confusion because his reason for saying so is no better than saying "God just happens to exist for no reason." Again, an arbitrary necessity is not just something that exists without a reason, it's a contingency that is used as a necessity to plug up a hole in naturalistic cosmology. A good example would be the ICR, a string of causal regressing going back infinitely. Most such examples are dependent upon using naturalistic phenomena such as the oscillating universe. Thus the universe, a contingency is drafted to perform the work of a necessity, something not contingent. The problem is not that "I can't think up a sexy reason why it should exist" but that it shouldn't be eternal because it's contingent. making an endless string of them doesn't help because it's an endless string of contingencies which is being used as necessity.

Now I can see the objecting coming, fallacy of complsition. The whole whole is not necessairly made up of its' parts. The fact of contingencies as parts doens't make the whole contingent. Yes, it does. The fallacy of composistion is crap. .Logicians argue that if all the parts are the same the whole is made of the parts and is the same of as the parts. Thus a wall made of brick is a brick wall. A palne made of steele is a steele plane. It is not a fallacy to say that a wall made of bricks is a brick wall. Robert Koons (UT) argues that wholly contingent sitautions are caused. The universe is wholly contingent, and so it must be caused.

(2) Transcendetal Singifer

This argument has them in fits. you can see the argument in its entirity here

Preliminary Observations:

(1) Any rational, coherent and meaningful view of the universe must of necessity presuppose an oranizing principle which makes sense of the universe and explains the hierarchy of conceptualization.

(2) Organizing principles are summed up in a single first principle which grounds any sort of metaphysical hierarchy, the Transcendental Signifier (TS)

(3) It is impossible to do without a Trancendental Signifyer, all attempts to do so have ended in the re-establishment of a new TS. This is because we caannot organize the universe without a princinple of organizing.

(4)TS functions Uniquely as Top of The Metaphysical Heirarchy.It's function is mutually exclusive.



P1) TS's function is mutually exclusive, no other principle can superceed that of the TS since it alone grounds all principles and bestows meaning through orgnaization of concepts.

P2)We have no choice but to assume the relaity of some form of TSed since we cannot function coherently without a TS
P3) We have no choice but to assume the reality of some form of TSed since the universe does seem to fall into line with the meaning we bestow upon it.

P4) The logical conclusion would be that There must be a TSed which actually creates and organizes the Universe.

P5) The sifnifier "God" is one version of the TS, that is to say, God functions in the divine ecnomy exacly as the TS functions in a metaphysical hierarchy.

P6) Since "God" is a version of the TS, and since TS and God concept share a unique function which should be mutually exclusive, the logical conculusion is that: God and TS share "God" concept is descrition of the Transcendental Signified.

P7)Since the TS should be assumed as real, and TS and God share identity, we should assume that God is the Transcendental Singified, and thus is an actual reality.

rational warrent for belief in God's existence.

There is always knee jerk reaction that I'm crazy, that this is nonsense, these words don't mean anything. In the last discussion a Christian said I was driving people to atheism by thinking about grand thought are too big be delved into, he kept talking about productive people who live valid lives and hold down jobs and get thing done. They don't waste their time with bs like this. Then the informs me he has to go prepare to teach his Sunday school class. I'm sure he will prepare the kiddies to be proper little borgeois know nothings and to hate learning. The atheist is reaction is often just as irrate.

Only one time has a skeptic ever pointed out that my argument is the reverse of Derrida. Good spotting, because I call the argument "the Reverse Derrida Argument." I am reversing Derrida, although he and I agree on the same preimise, that there is a TS and that God is a perfect example of the TS. But where Derrida wants to destroy the TS by undermining hierarchies, I say his own words and those of Heidegger indiate that this is impossible. We cannot communicate without the TS or without metaphysics because all Metaphysical ideals are grounded in coherence and language and coherence and language are both examples of hierarchies with transcendental signifiers.

Thus in the finest tradition of the North African philosopher himself, the point of contrudiction undermines the heirarchy of meaning he has set up and his whole chemeatta becomes reversable, that is just the way Derrida himself would do it.

for the most part other atheists argue (although they tacitly admit to the argument by trying to reason about it) say that there are many possible versions and that abstract ideals have no effect upon concrete reality. But I argue that most of the possibilities boil down to just one idea for a TS, an organizing principle, and that is pretty much reason. Which, by the way, would also answer the argument "how do you know God is 'personal?'" Because to identify God with reason, one must understand God as a mind, because minds contian reason. Reason is not dismbodied it has to be held in a mind. As for the idea that concretet realityis not effected by abstractions; concete thins can funciton as absract concepts all the time. A leader of a nation state is head of state. That is an abstract concept and a title, and the notion f a nation state is istelf an abstraction.

(3) The Ground of Being.

HRG on CARM still thinks his three partical universe is the defeat of this concept. he says if a unvierse existed consisting of nothing but three particals it would be to simplistic to be created by God. Thus here is an example of a universe that is uncreated and meaningless. This is just beging the question, since we don't have a three partical universe to examine, and really I consider the concept imposible. I don't think a three partical universe would have enough gravity to contain more particals than subatomic. It would not form a universe. Be that as it may, if it did it would be an example of being and thus not the defeat of the ground of being arugment. there would be a ground for the being. He's never answered this argument.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Rebuttle to Slaveofone

In response to Salveofone's post found here.

Meta: Really? So Paul was not a first century Jew?

SO1:Yes, really. Which is why Paul, being a first century Jew, didn't appeal to a higher morality attained through following a spiritual law that has replaced following the letter.

Meta: of course he did. He is the one who said "the letter kills but the Spirit gives life." I didn't make that up. that's a verse in the Bible by Paul. Now how else do you see that? The letter kills, but go ahead and live it anyway. I dont' see how anyone could possibly have read anything by Paul and not know this. Moreover, other Rabbis prior to Jesus said the same thing. I left the comment on your blog about Hillel standing on one leg and saying 'Don't do to anyone what you don't want done to yourself=--that's Torah, the rest is just commenary."

Meta: That's a very irresponsible argument since most modern scholars argue that the early layer of Q source is cynical/stoic in nature.

SO1:From where I'm standing, it is irresponsible to use the "most scholars say" argument (otherwise known as argumentum ad populum), because it is fallacious. Just because "most scholars" argue something it does not therefore follow that something is true.

Meta: No, there is a fallacy called "unecessary appeall to authority." that means if I say "My highschool teacher says there's a God, so there must be." That's a fallacy of appeal to authority because my highschool teacher s not an authority on the existence of God. But there is no such fallacy as appealing to experst! how absurdly aburd! who else are going to aks? These guys who speak the langauge (you don't, I do) they spend their lives studying it systematially and they have degrees in it they are the experts, they know.. that's not a fallacy that expert testimony that is never a fallacy to use!

Meta: They further argument (as per Helmutt Kosester) that Greek cynical thought was so popular among first century Jews that it could be found all over Palestine and the Diaspora (see my Doherty paper when I am reading to link it up).

SO1:Whether or not Cynicism and Stoicism were prevalent in First Century Palestine tells us nothing about whether or not Yeshua could be considered one of them. I wasn't speaking about the characteristic of a country, I was speaking about the characteristic of Yeshua. In logic, this fallacy is called a straw man.

Meta: Your argument was that Jesus sounded like a cynic the way I prortray him. Of coruse I was quotiong him so that cyncial likness, if it is there, is really there.. I brought up the fact that it's there in Q, meaning, Jesus must have really bleieved in a form of ethics like that. i did not say he was really a cynic. But his sounding like one was your cirticism, not something I arguef for.

Meta: I think you are not mindful of the text of hellinistic influnces.

SO1: prefer to see what Hellenistic influence the texts themselves show me instead of forming my opinions about that influence based on how Hellenism influenced the general culture or by basing my opinions on the Modern belief that "most scholars" agree with.

Meta: You are just informing me of your habit. that is not an argument that has a bearing on these issues. Your argument was that somehow my version of Jesus was modern and not sticking to the nature of the ancient world. I am saying that cyncism is not modern. So if Jesus sounds like a cynic the way I read him, it can' be that its modern. I'm not making him modern becasue those ideas were around back then. See?

Meta: I know of no injunction in the OT to be honorable in keeping the law. The shame/honor thing wasn't part of it. Guilt and peace have a lot more to do with it. That's certainly the way it look in Paul's world.

SO1:The shame and honor culture didn't come from the OT, it's comes from the culture in which the OT existed. Paul did not follow a higher Hellenistic morality based on universals and neither did Yeshua, nor did they teach us to attain to a higher internalized spiritual morality.

Meta: I've quoted them saying so. I quote several long passages of Jesus' in matt and luke. I don't see anything form you in way of actual proof. I see only your opinion.

Meta: You could accuse me of being Pauline, that's ok with me. I would accept that.

SO1:I wouldn't call you Pauline because you are horribly distorting Paul with a Modernism and a Hellenism absent from him.

Meta: Prove it! Say something besides your opinion! Paul says the letter kills, show me an answer to that! Paul says the law is nailed to the cross, he says if you keep the law Christ will do you no good. He says those who preach the law are anathema becasue they perach another Jesus, how else do we take that?

Gal 2:16:Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the
faith of Jesus Christ,
even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be
justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the
works of the law shall no flesh be justified.


But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also
are found sinners, [is] therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.


For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a


For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto


I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but
Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the
faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness [come] by
the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

explain that.

Meta: You yourself identified "My Jesus" as a Greek Cynical philosopher. Now where do you get off calling that "modern?" Seems like a contradiction to me.

SO1:I "get off" calling your Jesus Modern because the belief that Yeshua was a Greek Cynic, Stoic, or Wisdom/Morality Teacher is what "most modern scholars" (your own words) believe and who are to thank for the common acceptance of that belief (as you yourself witness by appealing to them). Doesn't seem like a contradiction to me.

Meta: you are so confused. First you said Jesus being a cynic was bad. You dont' seem to get that that's an ancinet thing. You seem to think it's modern. no it's older the Christianity. Do you not know that?

Meta: So you are saying Christians follow Jesus? O no, how dreadful. I would never have thought of that.

SO1: Whatever that means.

Meta: It seemed like part of what you were complaining abou about was that my view is Christian. I don't think you have clear opinion.

So1:What I am saying is the higher spiritual morality you espouse is not an aspect of either Christianity, Paul, or Yeshua.

Meta; I've already proven that it is. Jesus himself says it plainly several times and I quoted them in the orignal peice. Paul says it clearly and quoted i agove. I even quoted James saying it. You offer no analysis on any of that, nor do you offer any other evidence.

SO1:And that, in fact, it is degrading to most cultures in the ancient world (including Judaism) because it makes their "letter keeping morality" lower than our "inner spiritual keeping morality". It is a bigoted thing to say. And Paul never said it.

Meta: There is no modern vs ancinet split between letter vs spirit. This is what the whle axis age was about. From Lo Tsu to Jereiemah from Buddha to Zerathustra they all have inner spirit. Of course they do! The whole ancient world was about inner spirit. They also have compassion as the essence of the law. As I've quoted before pre Christian Rabbis say it, the great and famous rabbi Hellel said it. It's all over the ancinet world.

Rabbi Hillel understood the idea of collaping law into a single principle of love:

as told by Rabbi Elly Broch

The Torah teaches us one of mankind's most basic tenets, "And you should love your friend as your self." (Vayikra/Leviticus 19:18) The Talmud (Tractate Shabbos 21a) relates an incident when the renowned sage Hillel was approached by a prospective proselyte who wished to learn the entirety of Jewish law in the time that he would be able to stand on one foot. Hillel replied, "Do not do to your friend that which you do not wish to be done to you; this is the entire Torah, and all else is the commentary which you should learn".

Meta: Well excuse me for putting up Jesus up on a pedestal.He's only the incornate logos. Where does he get off thinking he's the Messiah! Wow the nerve of us Christians, having our own faith and everything!

So1:? I really don't understand what you meant to communicate with this.

Meta: Your original statment seems to imply cirticism for my view being Christian.

So1: Perhaps it would benefit you to know that I consider myself a Christian also and that I am not an anti-Christian or a leftist going around saying Christian have some kind of nerve for believing Christ is the Messiah or that Christ is incarnate... It may benefit you to know that I believe these things also and that I also put him up on a pedestal.

Meta:your statments sure implied it.

this whole pragraph makes it sound as though you are not a Chrisian:

The difference between an a non-Christian Jew/Gentile and a Christian Jew/Gentile is not that one follows the law and the other follows the spirit of it, but that one looks for the fulfillment of things (and how one responds to Yahweh’s grace) through Law whereas the other looks for the fulfillment of things (and how one responds to Yahweh’s grace) through Yeshua. Yeshua set himself up to replace observance of the law. A Christian believes that he is the replacement for Law observance and follows him. A non-Christian does not believe he is the replacement and continues to seek through Law what Yeshua said is now given and done through him, thereby rejecting him.

You say a Christian thinks Jesus is the replacement for the law and non Christian still seeks law. But that's just it, you condmen my view for saying the former (Jesus repaces law) which you here identify as the Christian view. So if you are against that view, you are against the Christian view. that makes me think you are not a Christian.

Meta: I'm not concerned with non Christian theology, I'm concerned with Christian theology.

So1:Then perhaps you should be concerned with changing your non-Christian theology.

Meta: when are you going to expalin how you can contradict Jesus? I've proven my view are biblical let's see you do soemthing.

So1;You recommend something for me to read so I recommend you read N.T. Wright's Christian Origins and the Question of God series (particularly "Jesus and the Victory of God"), which deal with Q, Cynicism, Stoicism, Paul, and Yeshua and argues quite compellingly that there is little or no Cynic in Yeshua and to what extent Hellenism does and does not influence the texts--contrary to popular Modern belief.

Meta; It is cerainly well within the totally known teachigns of christianity that we are under grace and not law, If you say otherwise you are a hertic. the bible says it and all christians say it ane we all know it you have no sound teaching and no undrstanding at all.

first of all you brought up the criticism that Jesus sounds like a cycic. as though you never heard of the passage about love your neighbor as yourself. Seccondly, Write is a modern scholar! O no, doesnt' that make him wrong? you've condmeend modern shcoalrs why should we trust him? becasue you only condem the one's that disagree with you right?

SO1:It is because of the veracity of Wright's arguments and evidences that I believe Yeshua is no Cynic or Stoic or Greek Philosopher, that Christianity is not about following the higher spiritual aspect of law instead of its letter, and that Paul in no way recommended this. It is not due to my lack of knowledge about the influence of Hellenistic culture or what "most scholars think". I am aware of the influence and their arguments and Wright has destroyed them.

Meta: It's it's just plain wrong headed to think that anyime somone says anything about the spirit over the letter that that makes them a cynic. It's even worse to think that Jesus' teachings can't be flavored with hellinistic ideas. You were the one who brought up cynics. You said two things:

(1) I made Jesus sound like a cynic

(2) that makes him modern and that's bad.

I said the cynics weren't modern. If being modern is bad then being a cynci certainly doesnt' bring on the badness of moderity because they cynics were not modern. I said the Jews had ideas of the cynics, another indication that your criticism that I'm degrading Judaism and being modern are wrong wrong wrong headed. totally wrong headed.

Your whole ideology is totally wrong headed. Every chrsians from Clement of Rome has known grace over law. that's the whole essence of the Christian faith. Not radical, not moder not unheard of not some new deal no one ever said before. That was what my grandmother taught me. Wesley said it. Luther said it. TI's not modern, it's not hippie it's not lefitst it's protestant reformation and new testament

Dangerous Minds

A trip down intellectual memory lane.

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Chiam Perleman---Jurgen Habermas

I noticed a visitor to the blog from Romania. In looking up the page he came in on I noticed it was a Google search for Jurgemn Habermas, through which he found an entry for ths blog here: "You Bring the Torches and Gasoline, I'll Bring the Popcorn." I was lamenting the fac that some group drew up a list of dangerious books. That fanned the famles of my anti-right wing detector and I had to sound off about it. I dont' remember what I said about Habermas.

Habermas was (or is) a great thinker, the youngest and last of the famous "Frankfort school" which was the brains behind the new left in the 1960's. I met him once. I sat next to him, grined like an idiot and told myself "think of something to ask him you fool" while my friend conducted the "Fred and Jurgen show" in front of our seminar class. My friend impressed him to no end.He was delighted to find such a lively mind in Texas. I impressed him as a grining idiot. Habermas's name is forever linked with that of Herbert Marcuse becasue of their mutual association with the Frankfort school. For a nice little website explaining about the Franfort school and what it's members were about, .see this

The kind of thinking the Frankfort school did was called "critical theory." That was the area in which my old academic Journal, Negations was aimed. There is also a link form critical theory to certain thinkers not connected to left wing politics. This is because Hobermas was so copmlete a thiker he even developed a thoery of human communication as a subset of his political theory. This involed the ideas of a group of thinkers who developed something called "the New Rehtoric." Cheif among these expositors are the English posativistStephen Tolouminand the Bergian Judicial thinkerChiam Perelman. At one time I considered (as an undergraduate stuyding Perleman for a big term paper) going to graduate as a student of Perelman's. The New Rhetoric was in the Early 60's and it was laregely aimed at (among other things) exploring a kind of logic called "non formal logic" which Perleman cliamed to find in Aristotle. This would have been an alternative to formal logic and statistical thinking with it's emphasis upon empirical science. Non formal logic was to be used in judging areas such as ethics where hard statistics could not determine the outcome.

Toulmin and Perleman are fairly obscure, they are graduate school material. Mostly they have been forgotten (more Perelman than Toulmin--he always had a bigger name in America). They had nothing to do with Marxism, but I suppose according to the kind of thinking that makes lists of dangerous books we would have to include them by association. The list fo dangerous ideas can't stop with the actual commission of dangerous ideas, we have to root out all aspects of dangerous thinking even if it si only by association. Speaking of that, the House Un American Activities Committee never did get around to examining those Mary Popins books. Boy were they sorry becasue just the next decade Julie Andrews pulled off a real coup de 'tat with it.As far as I can tell the New Rhetoric and the Frankfort school are pretty much footnotes in history of ideas classes. I think we are missing something vital in not continuing to explore that path.

Read about Perleman's Ideas here

Monday, May 15, 2006

Must Christians keep law?

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Discussion broke out on a message board recently about Christians keeping the law. This began as the attempt of skeptics to make yet another silly Bible contradiction. They point out that only Paul says Grace is in for the Christian and law is out. No other NT writers back Paul on this subject. Thus the Christian has been sold a bill of goods by a Pauline reformation and has missed the boat by not keeping the law. Yes this argument raises a good point.. There must be more to law than just rule keeping. The skeptic's motive to boil down soeteriology to a squabble between those who want a sort of "cheap grace" (no effort just beilef) vs. legalistic rule keepers, is the work of legalistic rule keepers. What they are missing is that in graduating to the higher level of conceptual morality, where one outgrows the rule keeping phase and comes to internalize moral concepts, this is actually the "end" of the law, its fulfillment of which Christ speaks.

Grace and law are not opposed. What is in opposition is the spirit of the law vs the letter of the laww ("the letter kills but the Spirit gives life" as Paul says). The idea that merit as defined by one's rule keeping acity vs Grace, defined as unmerited favor, these are the true oppositions; legalism vs anomianism. But the true understanding of God's law is never opposed to the true understanding of Grace. Jesus was all over this stuff. This is the heart of what makes his message so on point for any age. As the Lord himself said "which of you if your ox is in the ditch on the sabbath will not pull him out. But a human is worth more than an ox." So he's saying the spirit of the law is the point, the law is made to help us. Rule keeping is just a facilitation device that we outgrow when we find the power of God in our lives.

Now let's examine some passages, and let's see if it is true that Only Paul undertands Grace.

Matthew 12:1-13

1 At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them. 2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath." 3 He answered, "Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread--which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests. 5 Or haven't you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent? 6 I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.

Priests break the law and it's ok. David borke it, it's ok.

7 If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

what's this? the son of man is more important than the law, how could that be?

9 Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, 10 and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" 11 He said to them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." 13 Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.

he does good on the sabbath rather than keep the law. This is saying the spriit of the law is more important than the letter of the law. The spirit of the law is love it is helping people.

Matthew 22:34-40

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35
One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 "Teacher,
which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord
your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38
This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love
your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two

The law is predicated upon love. All the law is fuflilled in love, that's the spirit of the law and it's more important than the letter of the law.

Mat 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Mat 7:21 Not
every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of
heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not
prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name
done many wonderful works?

Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto
them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will
liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

Noice he doesn't say "keep the law." He says whoever does what my commands, but does that mean the law of Moses? Of course not. Not according to the previous passage where he breaks the to prove that it's more important to do the spirit of the. The law is predicated upon love. He tells us in the same Gospel that upon the twin principles of love God and love neighbor the whole law and prophets (pretty much covers God's whole revlation) are predicated. ie the predication of the law is love.

Luke 11:37-54

37 When Jesus had finished speaking, a Pharisee invited him to eat with
him; so he went in and reclined at the table. 38 But the Pharisee, noticing that
Jesus did not first wash before the meal, was surprised. 39 Then the Lord said
to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but
inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the
one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give what is inside the
dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. 42 "Woe to you
Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of
garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have
practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. 43 "Woe to you
Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and
greetings in the marketplaces. 44 "Woe to you, because you are like unmarked
graves, which men walk over without knowing it." 45 One of the experts in the
law answered him, "Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also." 46
Jesus replied, "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people
down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one
finger to help them. 47 "Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets,
and it was your forefathers who killed them. 48 So you testify that you approve
of what your forefathers did; they killed the prophets, and you build their
tombs. 49 Because of this, God in his wisdom said, 'I will send them prophets
and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.' 50
Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the
prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, 51 from the blood
of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the
sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.
52 "Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to
knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were
entering." 53 When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law
began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, 54 waiting to
catch him in something he might say.

see doing the law doesnt' save you. It's the inner motive that count not just keeping rules. The rule keepers were hypocrites. Those who only focus on the rules are only giving heed to the outer life of the individual not the basic movies of life, they are missing the boat.

Luke 14:1-6

1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he
was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from
dropsy. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, "Is it lawful to
heal on the Sabbath or not?" 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the
man, he healed him and sent him away. 5 Then he asked them, "If one of you has a
son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately
pull him out?" 6 And they had nothing to say.

he breaks the law to heal and make better.The spirit of the law over the letter. Moving on from Chist to the writers of the NT. James is suppossed to be the ant-Paul right? surely James will say to keep the law, or does he?

James 1:23

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who
looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and
immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into
the perfect law that gives
, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he
has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does. 26 If anyone
considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he
deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father
accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their
distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

what's this now? What law is liberty? Since when does perfect religion amount to helping widows and orphans? Surely he should say perfect religion is keeping the rules. Why didn't he say that? Because he had been listening to that renigade brother of his who said love is the spirit of the law and that helping people is more improtant than keeping the rules.

James 2:8-13

8 If you really keep the royal law found in
Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself,
" you are doing
Here he agrees with what Jesus says that the law is predicated upon
love and love and helping people is more important than rules.

So here we see it defined before our eyes on the page. This "royal law" is not the law of Moses, not the purity laws, not keeping Kosher, but the predication of the law, the law of love. Love is the background of the moral universe (Augistine) and the predication of all divine revelation (Jesus of Nazareth).

James 2:8-13

8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.

Here we see it defined again, and this time he tells us "this is right." He doesnt' say rule keeping is the thing to do, he says loving is the thing to do.

James 9

9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

So doing Jesus comands and keeping the the law Jesus style is defined as loving your neighbor as yourself, not keeping a list of rules.

Now we move to Acts where something amazing happens. The whole church council says Gentile Christians will not be burdened with the purity rituals of the law. This is extraordinary and contradicts the skeptical argument that only Paul says Christians are not under law.

Acts 15:

5But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command [them] to keep the law of Moses.

Act 15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

Act 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men [and] brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.

Act 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as [he did] unto us;

Act 15:9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

Act 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

Act 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Act 15:12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

Act 15:13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men [and] brethren, hearken unto me:

Act 15:14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

Act 15:15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

Act 15:16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

Act 15:17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Act 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

Act 15:19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:

Act 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and [from] fornication, and [from] things strangled, and [from] blood.

Act 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.

Act 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; [namely], Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:

Act 15:23 And they wrote [letters] by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren [send] greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:

Act 15:24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, [Ye must] be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no [such] commandment:

Act 15:25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

Act 15:26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Act 15:27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell [you] the same things by mouth.

Act 15:28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;

Act 15:29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

Act 15:30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:

Act 15:31 [Which] when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.

Act 15:32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed [them].

So the law, with circumcism and all was not laid upon the gentiles. It was not Paul saying this but the whole chruch council including James.

One of the skeptics linked to a website .(Pascal's Wager) which is really an anti-apologist site. On this site the anti-apologist argues that this council's decision only mirrors Rabbinical notions about the sons of Noah which were used as rules for "God fearer" Gentiles so that they could be "right" with God without having to be actual converts to Judaism.

This view is hardly unbiased, since the whole purpose of the site is to find problems with the Bible. I've looked at the stie before I find it is loaded with historical inaccuracies. For example, in this article "James the Jew" his ultimate objective is to show that Jame's view were not so different from those of Jesus and even Paul, and he takes that in the direction of arguing that the notion of "Judaizers" was false. First of all, the NT doesn't say there were that many Judaizers. I think Gnosticism was a bigger problem frankly. But his historical innacuracy is in assuming that James had the only Jewish Christian faction or that James was in full control. Yes, he was Jesus' brother and he was head of the chruch in Jerusalem, but he was not Jesus. There were other Jewish factions that were more hardline. Just a few decades latter these would emerge as the Ebionites and the Elkassites both of whom conmened Paul as the anti-Christ.

Secondly, the whole issue he blows out of proportion.His basic argument is useless.He says the council rulilng is like Rabbinical rulings concerning the sons of Noah, whereby Gentiles "God fearers" can follow a minimal version of the law without really having to follow the whole." It seems as though he, like most legalists, is stuck he rule keeping phase of moral development and he doens't understand what it means to move on to the higher level of conceptual development.See Lawrence Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development.

Law can be looked upon as a set of rules, or it can be understood in a higher sense as a system of concepts. The rule keeper looks at the conceptualist and says "O he must hate the law and want to destroy it because they aren't into rule keeping." The rule keeper can't understand the concept of keeping the spirit of the rules without keeping the letter of the rules. The conceptualist can only shake his head and sigh and think "well maybe the little guy will out grow it." This is the difference in law, and mere rule keeping.

Those who think they have a fatal blow to Christian concepts of Grace imagine that Grace is oppossed to the law. Such people need to get a copy of Karl Barth's Commentary on Romans and read Romans over and over and over and read Barth over and over.

The Jewish sons of Noah law is not saying that Gentiles have to follow the law. As James said if you don't follow one aspect of the law you miss it all. If you break one law you break the whole law. So there can't be a minimalized version of it. But what he Rabbis understood and what Jesus understood and what the Apostles finally understood is that the law is a set of rules but thsoe ruels are made to faciliate concepts. If the concepts are fufilled apart from the rules the law is not broken or cheated, it's fulfilled.

Thus it matter not at all that the council was doing the sons of Noah thing, they were Jews after all. they were not putting Christians under law and they were not saying salvation is not by Grace or that we don't need the law, they are both saying the same thing. Grace is the fuifllment of the law. Grace is not opossed to law.

The legalist is oppossed to law because he reduced the concept of the law to mere rule keeping, which is lower

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Now i've heard Everything!

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image HostingPhotobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Just a quite note. I will be back soon with a long, ponderous, super thoughtie think piece about the nature of Christinaity, but I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this. There's a site that challenges wackie ideas, like ufo's and stuff. They are attacking Wikepieida for allowing all knids of people to play with the edit button, as well thy should. But get a load of their list of things they opposse:

Bible Life

A good example of "politically correctness" and brainwashing is the Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia prides itself in allowing visitors to revise the web page in most cases. However, they do not allow a reference and link to this website because we refute UFOs, Aliens, Bigfoot, Loch Ness, Roswell, Area 51, Crop Circles, Antigravity, Bermuda Triangle, evolution, Big Bang Theory and Red Shift Light Theory. They are a good example of the media perpetuating myths.

So evolution and Big Bang are in the same category with Bigfoot and UFO's? I can handle that, but the doppoer shift? That's just bread and butter science.If the doppler shift is not scientific how do they expalin the doppler effect in sound? Angels?

What's even funnier, they indict a well worne tacic of husxters:

One very effective marketing method is the personal testimony. We see this tactic used every day in advertising because it works. Buyers fall for the scam more readily when personal testimonies are presented even though the statements can easily be shown to be false. Humans are prolific liars, and many listeners cannot discern truth from lies. History has shown that highly credentialed people can be liars. Many prolific liars have been in high political office and in high religious positions. The number of witnesses adds nothing. Truth is not a popularity contest. Having lots of personal testimonies means nothing when judging the truth. Law enforcement officers have found that eye witnesses are not reliable sources for facts.

Guys! let's get our heads screwed on now. Personal testimony? We christians invented perosnal testimony. Don't you know that? That's our stock in trade. That's our bread and butter. Witnessing? Every heard of it? Come on guys, it call all be bad.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Supernatural

The problem in all these discussions about the supernatural is that we are dealing with a degraded concept. The notion of "Supernatural" is a misgnomer to begin with, because modern people construe the idea as another place, an actual location that you can go to. It's the unseen invisible world that is filled with ghosnts and magic and so forth. It's in the realm where God can heaven are, we supposse. But what they dont' realize is that this is the watered down, dilapidated concept. It's not even understood well by Christians because it was destroyed in the reformation.

The term "supernatural" comes from the term "supernauturalator" or "Supernature." Dyonisus the Areogopite (around 500ad) began talking of God as the supernaturalator, meaning that God's higher nature was the telos toward which our "lower" natures were drawn. St.Augustine has spoken of Divine nature as "Supernature" or the higher form of nature, but that is speaking of nature in you, like human nature and divine nature.

In the begining the issue was not a place, "the realm of the supernatural" but the issue was the nature inside a man. Human nature, vs. divine nature. The Sueprnatural was divine nature that drew the human up to to itself and vivified it with the power (dunimos) to live a holy life. This is the sort of thing Paul was talking about when he said "when I am weak I am strong." Or "we have this treasure in earthen vessels." The weak human nature which can't resist sin is transformed by the power of the Godly nature, through the spirit and becames strong enought to reisist sin, to be self sacraficing, to die for others ect ect.

This was the "supernatural" prior to the reoformation. It was tied in wiht the sacraments and the mass. That's partly why the Protestants would rebell agianst it. Austine (late 300s early 400s) spoke of Chrstians not hating rocks and trees, in answer to the assertion that Christians didn't like nauture. But the extention of the natural world as "nature" didn't come unitl latter. The idea of "the natural" was at first bsed upon the idea of human nature, of biological life, life form life, that's what the Latin natura is about.

Prior to the reformation Christian theologians did not see the supernatural as a seperate reality, an invisible realm, or a place where God dwells that we can't see. After the rformation reality was biphercated. Now there came to be two realms, and they juxtoppossed to each other. The realm of Supernature, is correllated to that of Grace, and is holy and sacred, but the early realm is "natural" and bad it's myered in sin and naural urges.

But all of that represents a degraded form of thinking after goign throught he mill of the Protestant Catholic split. The basic split is charactorized by riationalism vs feideism. The Catholics are rationalists, because they believe God is motivated by divine puropose and wisdom, the Protestants were fiedeists, meaning that faith alone apart form reason because God is motived by will and sheer acceptation, the desire to prove soverignty above all else.

The rationalistic view offered a single harmony, a harmonous reality, governed by God's reasoned nature and orchastrated in a multiferious ways. This single reality continaed a two sided nature, or a mutli-facets, but it was one harmonious reality in wich human nature was regeuvinated thorugh divine nature. But the Protestant view left Christian theology with two waring reality, that which is removed from our empirical knowledge and that in which we live.

The true Christian view of the Sueprnatural doesn't see the two realms as juxtoppossed but as one reality in which the natural moves toward its' ground and end in divien nature. It is this tendency to move toward the ground and end, that produces miracles. A miracle is merely nature bending toward the higher aspect of Supernature.

but with the Protestant divinsion between divine sogerignty, acceptation and will motivating the universe, we mistake univocity and equivocity for nature and supernature. We think nature and supernature are not alike they are at war, so difference marks the relationship of the two. But to make the Suepernatural more avaible they stress some aspect of nature and put it over against the rest of nature and pretend that makes it sueprnatuarl, this is univocity, it's the same. So will and acceptation, soverigty, God has to prove that he is in charge, these are all aspects of univocity.

It's the natural extension of this biphercation that sets up two realms and sees nature as "everything that exits." or "all of mateiral reality" that sets up the atheist idea that supernatural is unnecessary and doesn't exist.

The medieval Christian doctrine of the supernatural has long been misconstrued as a dualistic denigration of nature, opposed to scientific thinking. The concept of supernature, however, is not a dualism in the sense of dinigrading nature or of pitting against each other the "alien" relams of spirit and matter. The Christian ontology of the supernatural bound together the realm of nature and the realm of Grace, immanent and transcendent, in a unity of creative wisdom and purpose, which gave theological significance to the natural world. While the doctrine of supernature was at times understood in a dualistic fashion, ultimately, the unity it offered played a positive role in the development of scientific thinking, because it made nature meaningful to the medieval mind. Its dissolution came, not because supernatural thinking opposed scientific thinking, but because culture came to value nature in a different manner, and the old valuation no longer served the purpose of scientific thinking. An understanding of the notion of supernature is essential to an understanding of the attitudes in Western culture toward nature, and to an understanding of the cultural transition to science as an epistemic authority.

The ontology of supernature assumes that the natural participates in the supernatural in an ordered relation of means and immediate ends, with reference to their ultimate ends. The supernatural is the ground and end of the natural; the realm of nature and the realm of Grace are bound up in a harmonious relation. The Ptolemaic system explained the physical lay-out of the universe, supernature explained its theological relation to God. The great chain of being separated the ranking of creatures in relation to creator. The supernatural ontology is, therefore, sperate from but related to cosmologies. This ontology stands behind most forms of pre-reformation theology, and it implies an exaltation of nature, rather than denigration. This talk of two realms seems to imply a dualism, yet, it is not a metaphysical dualism, not a dualism of opposition, but as Fairweather points out, "the essential structure of the Christian faith has a real two-sidedness about it, which may at first lead the unwary into dualism, and then to resolve ... an exclusive emphasis on one or the other severed elements of a complete Christianity...such a dissolution is inevitable once we lose our awareness of that ordered relation of the human and the divine, the immanent and the transcendent, which the Gospel assumes." Yet, it is this "two-sidedness" which leads unwary historians of into dualism.

In his famous 1967 article, "The Roots of Our Ecological Crisis," Lynn White argued that the Christian belief of the Imago Dei created "a dualism of man and nature;" "man shares in God's transcendence of nature." This notion replaced pagan animism, it removed the "sacred" from the natural world, and with it, inhibitions against exploiting nature. Moreover, by the 12th century, nature became a source of revelation through natural theology. In the Latin West, where action prevailed over contemplation, natural theology ceased to be the decoding of natural symbols of the divine and became instead an attempt to understand God through decerning the operation of creation. Western technology flourished, surpassing even that of Islamic culture (although they still led in theoretical pursuits). Thus, White argues, medieval theology did allow science to grow, but at the ultimate expense of the environment.

The insights of feminist scholarship, however, suggest an even more subtle argument for the denigration of nature. Feminist theologian, Rosemary Radford Ruther, argued that there is an identification between the female and nature, the male and transcendence. Women have been disvalued historically through the association between female sexuality and the "baseness" of nature. Londa Schiebinger, calls attention to the fact that the Judeo-Christian cosmology placed women in a subordinate position. Gender was more fundamental than biological sex, and it was a cosmological principle, "...Men and women were carefully placed in the great chain of being--their positions were defined relative to plants, animals, and God." The subordination of women was predicated upon their position in nature. "Male" and "Female represented dualistic cosmological principles penetrating all of nature, principles of which sexual organs were only one aspect. One might suspect that the place of women on the great chain of being is indicative of the true status of nature itself in Christian ontology; an overt denigration of women indicates a covert denigration of nature.

Paper I wrote for graduate school on Science and Superntural