Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Answering Crititics on TS argument


Someone named Chris Halliquist attacks my arugment in a thing pompously entitled "How not to do Philosophy." But Halliquist shows us how not read a text and how not to make arguments. Here are the comments I made to this person on that blog.

Just to make it clear enough this genius who lambastes me for "sloppiness" and showing how not to do philosophy read the page I did explaining the background of the argument and takes it to be the argument itself.


You don't know anything about Derrida or philosophy. I studied Derrida with Alex Argyros at UT Dallas, who in turn studied with Derrida. I was a Ph.D. candidate so I am qualified to tell you what Derrida said. I got it right and you did not.

your ignorance is a example of how not to do criticism:

1. Being sloppy with definitions: The minute he defines “transcendental signifier,” he defines it both as a “mark (word)” and a principle. It’s not at all obvious that these could even be the same thing; this is not the kind of thing you cram into a definition.>>

Sorry, you are sloppy in understanding what you read. Since you obviously know nothing about the subject matter, read slow, try to think: "signifier" means a word. The word refers to something "signified." The thing eh word signifies is a principle, that's what the words refers to an organizing principle which gives meaning to all other meanings, or marks (words). Understand now. It's not saying signifier is both a word and a principle its' saying the word refers to a principle.

<<2. Being sloppy with logic: A good logical argument will have starting assumptions that are as clearly true as you can make them, and then proceed one step at a time to show how the desired conclusion follows in a clear and inevitable manner from these assumptions. The seven numbered steps of Hinman’s argument don’t do this. It’s hard to see how you could re-write them to make them do this, but as an example you’d say something like:>>

In making the argument since it is a reverse of Derrida, and I said this up front, in fact I call the argument "the reverse Derrida" and I said, I am limited by how Derrida argued it and how what he argued. Do you understand that? Do you need me to explain that?

moreover, I don't think you understand what arguments are. The argument produces along a row of proportions each one related to the other, and numbered 1,2,3, ect. I don't think you get how that works.

<<“There is a transcendental signifier. If there is a transcendental signifier, there is a transcendental signified. Therefore, there is a transcendental signified. “God” is a version of the transcendental signifier. If “God” is a version of the transcendental signifier, then God is identical with the transcendental signified. Therefore, there is a God.” Not great, but then it’s at least clear what the key assumptions are that need to be debated.>>>

that's not even the argument. I don't really know what you are quoting from. My argument goes like this:

P1) TS's function is mutually exclusive, no other principle can supercooled that of the TS since it alone grounds all principles and bestows meaning through organization 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 signifier "God" is one version of the TS, that is to say, God functions in the divine economy exactly 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 conclusion is that: God and TS share identity.ie "God" concept is discretion 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 Signified, and thus is an actual reality.

rational warrant for belief in God's existence, QED.


<<3. Explaining a philosophical system in detail does not make it right: >>

but you got to start somewhere don't you? You are making the mistake and the dishonesty of pretending (because you can't really be that stupid) that that page on the blog was the argument! Talk about sloppy! The page on the blog that you read was the background that explains what you must know to understand the argument. is said this clearly and up front and I linked tot he argument. It's not my fault if you can't figure out what you read becuase you are too dense to comprehend. maybe next time you can pay more attention to what you are doing?


do I? I rather thought that by saying it's the background you need to know and linking to the argument someone with some brains will get the drift that I'm not trying to do that but merely to tell you what one must know to understand the argument, which apparently you aren't clever enough to find.

<<4. Relating your philosophical system to a historical narrative does not make it right: Pretty much the same problem as point 3.>>

But showing how a thinkers arguments can be reversed might do that. The necessary first step to reversal is to explain what you are reversing. why do I feel like that's wasted on you?

<<5. Shun the homeopathy of ideas: The historical discussion of thinkers from Plato to unnamed atheists often involves descriptions of their views that will be barely recognizable to people familiar with what they actually wrote. You do not get to act like you gave a serious discussion of someone’s views just because you described an idea vaguely resembling their ideas.>>>

something tells me you don't know enough about the world of thought to really make any difference on that anyway.

Filed under: philosophy, stupidity>>>

why would this argument have anything to do with social science. My God atheists are stupid. I am thunderstruck and dumb and dead pan idiotic atheists are and how unable they are to comprehend what's being said. you understanding of my work is pathetic, abysmal.

Metacrock (J.L. Hinman)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Salvation is by Grace: Not by Keeping the Law

This is a little debate that has evovled between myself and a reader over my post on Models of Atonement, A post I did a couple of weeks ago. The issues seems to have evolved in the comment section that Theodore seems to believe that salvation is by keeping the law. He actually questions that I'm even saved because I subscribe to his views (It seems to evade his notice that me and the rest of the reformation and Protestant world, and according to Hans Kung most Catholics as well).

Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

This is what Paul said about substitutionary atonement. "It is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous."
Paul didn't just think SA is b/s he knew it it is.

Blogger Metacrock said...

Paul uses several models, I agree that he's not stuck on the substitution idea literalistic nor does he get all the things out of it that Calvinists do, such as limited atonement. But int his statement he is not saying that salvation is by works or by keeping the law. He's saying if you set out to make it be being righteous rather than by accepting God's grace you have to the keep the whole law and if you screw up then you fail.

He's saying the only way you can make it is by accepting Jesus sacrifice. But in saying that I believe that the way to accept it is as a statement of solidarity.

9:10 AM
Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

"The law was added so that the trespass might increase." Rom. 5:20
Also Heb. 7:12b "there is made of necessity a change also of the law."
What you do know is not in the remotest sense what the apostle Paul teaches. And you are even less than that in knowing what God has done by Jesus' crucifixion.

Blogger Metacrock said...

"The law was added so that the trespass might increase." Rom. 5:20

try connecting that to the arguemnts please. Because he si not saying this means salvation is by works. It does not say have to follow the law to be saved. HE's saying the law is there to show us how bad bad is. But then also counters it with the realization that we can't keep the law because we are sinful and we need God's grace to give us the power not to sin.

Also Heb. 7:12b "there is made of necessity a change also of the law."

That in no way says what you want it to.

What you do know is not in the remotest sense what the apostle Paul teaches. And you are even less than that in knowing what God has done by Jesus' crucifixion.

that is not an argument. that is nothing more than posturing. I can read what he says. Apparently I understand what I read better than you do. I also have read many commentaries and scholarly articles on what he meant, apparently you have not. I also read Greek and have read this in Greek, I would bet you have not.

I clearly understand Paul better than you do.

OOoo,ps, arrogance! Unbecoming. sorry.

Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

Thanks, but the door into the kingdom of God, friend, is small, narrow.................few find it, and make every effort to use only it. For when you're caught climbing over the wall it is into the hand of the Living God. Something that is terrible for a man. He does not survive.

9:09 AM
Blogger Metacrock said...

sorry buddy, God has not appointed you the orbiter of my salvation. You are not the divine gatekeeper. You don't' even understand the basic principles the chruch teaches.

God did not make you the head hoaky. I know Jesus, I doubt that you do., but I know I do. So I don't care about your heretical misconceptions.

salvation is by God's grace, period. you are wrong.

Blogger Theodore A. Jones said...

If your conjecture is true that by knowing Greek is also congruent with the gift of interpreting the Scriptures then you are only even with every Greek. For they are said to think and say that the gospel of God is foolish to them as you admit it is to you.
Of cousre being able to read the original in the language in which it was written is no guarantee that one is right, but it certainly helps one's understanding. If you don't know the language you have no real way, other than trusting commentaries, to know what he actually said.

Blogger Metacrock said...

that is no excuse for thinking that your arguments don't have to make sense. If the Holy Spirit shows you an interpretation it must still be recognizable to anyone reading the passage with a reasonable amount of teaching and discussion. Everything has to be verifiable to anyone who can read the passage, or you are impossing your own will and fooling yourself.

there is no private interpretation and Paul said that I believe.

you can't just pretend God is telling you something and not be able to show it verified in reading the passages. that passage you quoted is not a license to assert foolish opinions in the name of God.

I don't really know where this guy is coming from. I hope he will explain his views further. I will assume he's sincere. It seems that one of his major concerns is that we should keep the law. He begins why saying this is what Paul says about substitutionary atonement. Well no it is not. Paul was not speaking of subsittutionary atonement when he said that, in fact Paul did not say what he quotes as an actual quote of his own views. He says it refute the notion of keeping the law as a matter of salvation. Of cousre he does not do any sort of exegesis, so he doesn't give the passage so we have to find ourselves to check the context. The passage is Romans 2:13. This is very important because look at the context, this is what the says next:

Rom 2:14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law,

Rom 2:15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)
Rom 2:16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

In other words even pagans who don't know God can be saved (their hearts defend them) If they by nature, by following the heart, do the things God puts on the heart (the moral law he gives all humanity). That means they are not following hte Mosaic law they are following natural morality not the law of Moses. There is no law on the heart of all humans about new moons and festivals and how to build the temple and how to make animal sacrifices.

But let's back up to an even larger context. This is Romans cahpter 2. His point is chapter 2 is to show why God gave the law, and how one is excused from seeking God. He's showing how the pagans fell away and began to worship the creation rather than the creator, but he's also showing that the principle of Grace was at work the whole time and it is working among the pagans and will bring them back. Let's look at what he says just before the passage I quote above:

Rom 2:9 There will be Trouble and distress for every human being who does Evil, first or the Jew then for the Geniles

Rom 2:10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Rom 2:11 For God does not show favoritism.

Rom 2:12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.

Being fair to Jones, the Greek used in 2:10 to mean "does" as in "anyone who does good" is ergazomi meaning "to do, or work." That might imply keeping law, salvation by works. But it doesn't say everyone has has to earn salvation, if that's what he meant then he could not say their hearts defend them becuase it would be a matter of actually doing the rights and enough works to merit salvation. This wold completely contradict what he says further on. He is clearly saying that following the moral law on the heart is a matter of seeking the good. Paul says it's their conscousciences that defend them. Why? let's see.

Rom 2:17 But if you bear the name "Jew" and rely upon the Law and boast in God,

Rom 2:18 and know {His} will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,
Rom 2:19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,
Rom 2:20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,
Rom 2:21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?
Rom 2:22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?
Rom 2:23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?
Rom 2:25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
Rom 2:26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?
Rom 2:27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter {of the Law} and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?
Rom 2:28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
Rom 2:29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

In other words he's saying it's no the act of keeping law that saves, if you trust in the law you must keep it perfectly. What saves is the act of trusting God and seeking God's truth. It's a matter of the heart, if you heart is seeking the truth of God you are saved, not because you keep riturals and regulartions and follow rules, but becuase you are seeking the good. Thats' why he says "a Jew inwardly." In the very next chapter he tells us that no one can make it by keeping the law, no one is truly keeping the law prefectly and that htey only way to be saved is by trusting Jesus.

In the very next chapter he says no one can be saved by keeping the law. He says explicitly the only way to be saved is by trusting Jesus.

Rom 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Rom 3:21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

Rom 3:22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

When Paul wrote to the Galations he was alarmed that they were preaching the need to keep the law. That entire book is about the inadequacy of keeping law and the truth of God's grace, Jesus' death on the cross as the object of our trust. This is the uttermost basic definition of the Gospel that he gives. He wanted to be totally clear and he really lay sit on the line that anything shrot of htis is a different Gospels an worth of the strongest condemnation.

6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

He puts right up front in the Greeting what he's calling "the true Gospel" they the Galatians were abandoning.

3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Jesus gave himself for our sins. That is the substitution version of atonement and that's what he's putting forward as the true way that God taught him, he says literally God taught it to him. Does that disprove the solidarity view, not at all. The two are in perfect agreement on this point,t hat Jesus' death on the cross is for us to forgive our sins, and it's the object of our trust and holding it as such is what saves. What he opposses it to is keeping the law. He chides the Galatians for going back to the law, he opposes Peter for his hypocracy in not eathing with gentiles because it offends the legalism of the law keeping faction.

1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

In this vain he actually declares:

10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law."c]">[c] 11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."d]">[d] 12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, "The man who does these things will live by them."e]">[e] 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."f]">[f] 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

If you live under the law you are under a curse! that's exactly what he says. This is the same context as the statement form Romans that Jones quotes and its' the same argument he makes in Romans, made again here. He says if you believe you have to keep the law to be saved then you have to keep it perfectly and you can't, so you are lost. He says explicitly, Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law. How did the do it? by becoming a curse for us. What does that mean? It means he offers solidarity by entering into solidarity with us. When we accept that solidarity with God we are automatically forgiven and we have to be, because you can't have solidarity and still be still be holding something against the solidrant. It's not the magic of shedding blood, but the fact by which is shed (the fact of the offer of solidarity that implicitly obtains from entering humanity and sharing in human fate).

Look where he says does God forgive you and give miracles and heal you because you observe the law or becuase you believe? Believe what? God's statment of solidarity! That God identifies with us and wants to enter into relationship with us. That's just what Paul says happens when in Romans 6 he speaks of being baptized into Christ's death so we cn share in his future. He enters into solidarity with us by entering humanity and dying as the victim of oppression, we enter solidarity with him by accepting what he's done for us (which amounts to accepting God's solidarity).

Grace is not predestination and it's not "cheap." It does not mean you keep sining then ask forgiveness and get away with whatever you want. It's opening the heart to God and allowing God to change our hearts so we don't want to do these things. Remember the passage in Romans about anyone who does the good will receive eternal life not because they earn it but because they are seeking the good. These are simple ideas and there's so much distortion now days I find a great deal of confusion. The fundies are basically assuming believing the Bible saves you. Others' turn to the law as the source of salvation to get away from "cheap Grace" but they lose sight of what true Grace is about. The actual truth of God's Grace is not cheap but it is gracious and based upon love.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Misconceptions About Religion


Andy Wright makes comments in response to "More on Extraordinary claims," I will answer his comments here because they are typical of certain atheist misconceptions that I have been trying to correct since I started on internet apologetics boards. The average atheist on the net seems to believe that religion is for feeble minded dullards who can't think, that's its effects are clearly proven to be very bad for both the individual and society, and that belief is receding into he mists of history. Not only are these ideas totally wrong, but they are the exact opposite of truth. Not only so, but that these things are totally false is clearly demonstrably provable with the best scientific evidence. Religion is actually very good for you, religious people are much better adjusted, by and large, than most atheists. Religious people are happier, they are less likely to commit crimes, if you except fundamentalists their marriages are better.

Wright was reacting to my statement that religion is normative for human experince, and the point of saying that was to show that belief is not an extraordinary claim. So let us keep that in mind, because most of Wrights arguments lose sight of this poin.

Andy Wright:

you say "religious belief is normative for human behavior. It is not merely "normal" but "normative" meaning it sets the standard. Belief is basic to human psyche, to our understanding of the good, of meaning in life, the ultimate limits of reality, the grounding of nature and being itself,"
this is not true. there have been and continue to be successful human societies where religion is not part of the society, where simply not knowing was acceptable.

This is clearly disproved by history. There has never been a single non religious society anyone where on earth. There have only been a handful of attempts to make societies that were non religious, and in not only did those cases fail, but they were the imposition of an ideology by an elite who imposed its will upon the masses.There has never been a single organic culture where the masses were just naturally not religious. Even in the Soviet union and china, where the only attempts to destroy the faith of the masses was imposed, it failed miserably. At the height of the cultural revolution in China when the government was the most anti-religious, the people were still 51% religious and Christianity made up a huge portion.

Wright again:

you seem to define religion as belief in a single higher power, yet among the societies that have religion, there have been as many societies that beleived in multiple spirits in a range from every single thing having a spirit to there being many extra powerful beings that you would call gods.

This is my true definition of religion, I've given it hundreds of times on message board all over the net and it is on my website in my credo where I clearly go over the all the beliefs I hold. I got this definition from Dr. Neil McFarlane in his lecture notes in his class on "religion in a Global perspective" at Perkins School of Theology (SMU). I think it was influenced by Dr Fredrick Strung ("string").

My definition of religion:

In my view Religion is an attept to identify a human problemic, that is the basic problematic nature at the heart of being human. Having identified it, reilgious traditions seek to resolve the problematic nature of human life by offering a transformative experince which allows one to transcend the difficulty and to be fulfilled or feel more human or be "saved." Religious traditions also usually seek to mediate this transformation through cerimony or some sort of theological orientation. These three things make up the nature of religion:

(a) identification of the problematic

(b) Transformative power to overcome the nature of the problematic

(c) a means of mediating this transformative power.

All religions offer these things, weather the problematic be seen as separation from nature, or imbalance with cosmic forces, re-birth through desire which leads to suffering, or moral sin in rebellion against God.

Transformations come in all sorts of packages too, they can be the big experince of born again Christianity (mediated through the "sinners prayer") or they can be the mystical experince, mediated through the mass, or enlightenment, mediated through mediation, mandala, mantra and other mediation aids, or what have you.

The reason for identifying with a particular religious tradition is because one feels that this particular tradition identifies the problematic better than others, and offers mediation in a more sure or certain or compelte way. One must go with the tradition with which one feels the strongest connection.

For me that is the Christian Tradition, primarily because I feel that the historical connection to Jesus of Nazareth, and the unique concept of Grace mark the Christian tradition as the best mediation of the Ultimate Transformative Experience. But more on that latter.

So your statement is quite false. I do not limit by view of religion to belief in a single "powerful being." In fact that view of what I believe is so far off, you clearly know nothing about my views. Obviously you are merely reacting to the label "Christian" and have not bothered to find out that Christianity is very diverse. I do not believe that God is a single powerful being! I do not believe that God is "A being." I believe that God is "being itself." That means God is the basis of what being is, the foundation of all being, not a being, but the basic ground of all being. I further believe that differing religions and concepts of God and gods are merely sign posts that point to this foundation of being. The are metaphors and analogies that point to something beyond themselves, something beyond our ability to understand. I have written many pages on this on my website. The major such pages can be found here: The Ground of Being

Wright goes on:

the range and differences among them are so great as to make lumping them all under 'religion' is almost ridiculous.

That is indicative misunderstanding the nature of religion is. Religion is so much bigger, better, and more important than you are willing to accept, or even than you suspect.

there have been many societies around the world where a human was thought of as the current incarnation of god. this differs so much from Christianity as to again, be almost impossible to be considered the same thing.

That's a misconception. It doesn't really matter, it's a meaningless point anyway, because I'm sure I know much more about world religion than you do. Remember the class I mention, above, "religion in a global perspective?" Neil McFarland who taught that class lived in Japan for 30 years. He was the leading expert on the New Religions of Japan (his book was Rush House of the Gods--I love that title!). He was very sympathetic to Eastern religions and he studied them with major Shinto and Buddhists priests in Japan. That class focussed on religions of Asia, especially Japan. There are not other societies or religions which have exactly the same understanding of deity as Christianity. There are none where a human being was thought of as God in the way that Christian theology came to regard Christ after the second century or so. But to say that these religions can't be regarded as the same thing is just poppy cock. They all fit with the definition given above and they all fit with the concept of mystical union which I have clearly espoused for years.


and in all of those societies, there were a wide range of level of belief in the locally accepted 'religion'. some were vigorous hyper believers and most belived some of it but had doubts about a little of it and some believed very little or none at all of it. societies varied a great deal in how much they tolerated the non-beleivers, from none at all to total tolerance, and still, even when there was no tolerance, there were non-beleivers who kept silent about it. your claim that religion is 'normative' lacks anthropological basis for societies and is lacking even more when applied to individuals.

Notice that you don't give a single example. Prior to the eighteenth century true atheists who really believed there was no God at all of any kind were very rare, and mostly they were uneducated. They had no scientific basis for their claims, merely anger toward religious people and institutions.No actually your misconceptions lack anthropological backing. I am quoting anthropologists. I'm quoting major social scientists such as Abraham Maslow who did studies on the nature of religious experience and found that its one of the greatest things or people. Maslow's book was Peak Experience and there is a copy online. A vast body of social sciences data shows that religion is far better for you than unbelief.


Atheists today have all that stuff you claim belief is basic to and they have it without . . . guess what . . . belief in any god or religion. you might not want to admit there are well adjusted atheists making positive contributions to the world, and i am not sure why you are so intolerant of atheism or why it threatens you so, but you claim about belief being essential to a person or a society is . . . bogus.

Saying that religion is normative is not at all the same as saying that there are no well adjusted atheists. That's not the issue at all. In fact the data does show that believers are much better "adjusted" and less mental illness and less depression than unbelievers.

again from my website:

Religioius belief indicative of good mental health

a)Religous Pepole are More Self Actualized

Dr. Michale Nielson,Ph.D. Psychology and religion.


"What makes someone psychologically healthy? This was the question that guided Maslow's work. He saw too much emphasis in psychology on negative behavior and thought, and wanted to supplant it with a psychology of mental health. To this end, he developed a hierarchy of needs, ranging from lower level physiological needs, through love and belonging, to self- actualization. Self-actualized people are those who have reached their potential for self-development. Maslow claimed that mystics are more likely to be self-actualized than are other people. Mystics also are more likely to have had "peak experiences," experiences in which the person feels a sense of ecstasy and oneness with the universe. Although his hierarchy of needs sounds appealing, researchers have had difficulty finding support for his theory."



In terms of psychological correlates, well-being and happiness has been associated with mystical experiences,(Mathes, Zevon, Roter, Joerger, 1982; Hay & Morisy, 1978; Greeley, 1975; Alexander, Boyer, & Alexander, 1987) as well as self-actualization (Hood, 1977; Alexander, 1992). Regarding the latter, the developer of self-actualization believed that even one spontaneous peak or transcendental experience could promote self-actualization. Correlational research has supported this relationship. In a recent statistical meta-analysis of causal designs with Transcendental Meditation (TM) controlling for length of treatment and strength of study design, it was found that: TM enhances self-actualization on standard inventories significantly more than recent clinically devised relaxation/meditation procedures not explicitly directed toward transcendence [mystical experience] (p. 1; Alexander, 1992)

b) Christian Repentence Promotes Healthy Mindedness

william James
Gilford lectures


"Within the Christian body, for which repentance of sins has from the beginning been the critical religious act, healthy-mindedness has always come forward with its milder interpretation. Repentance according to such healthy-minded Christians means getting away from the sin, not groaning and writhing over its commission. The Catholic practice of confession and absolution is in one of its aspects little more than a systematic method of keeping healthy-mindedness on top. By it a man's accounts with evil are periodically squared and audited, so that he may start the clean page with no old debts inscribed. Any Catholicwill tell us how clean and fresh and free he feels after the purging operation. Martin Luther by no means belonged to the healthy-minded type in the radical sense in which we have discussed it, and be repudiated priestly absolution for sin. Yet in this matter of repentance he had some very healthy-minded ideas, due in the main to the largeness of his conception of God. -..."

e. Recent Empirical Studies Prove Religious Believers have less depression, mental illness lower Divorce rate, ect.

J. Gartner, D.B. Allen, The Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Systematic Reviews And Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects Vol. II, David B. Larson M.D., Natiional Institute for Health Research Dec. 1993, p. 3090


"The Reviews identified 10 areas of clinical staus in whihc research has demonstrated benefits of religious commitment: (1) Depression, (2) Suicide, (3) Delinquency, (4) Mortality, (5) Alchohol use (6) Drug use, (7) Well-being, (8) Divorce and martital satisfaction, (9) Physical Health Status, and (10) Mental health outcome studies....The authors underscored the need for additional longitudinal studies featuring health outcomes. Although there were few, such studies tended to show mental health benefit. Similarly, in the case of teh few longevity or mortality outcome studies, the benefit was in favor of those who attended chruch...at least 70% of the time, increased religious commitment was associated with improved coping and protection from problems."

[The authors conducted a literature search of over 2000 publications to glean the current state of empirical study data in areas of Spirituality and health]

This part is very important becasue it speaks diretly to what you said about atheists being well adjusted.

2) Shrinks assume religious experience Normative.
Dr. Jorge W.F. Amaro, Ph.D., Head psychology dept. Sao Paulo

[ http://www.psywww.com/psyrelig/amaro.html]

a) Unbeliever is the Sick Soul

"A non spiritualized person is a sick person, even if she doesn't show any symptom described by traditional medicine. The supernatural and the sacredness result from an elaboration on the function of omnipotence by the mind and can be found both in atheist and religious people. It is an existential function in humankind and the uses each one makes of it will be the measure for one's understanding."

I know you are going to get angry about that because people usually do. but this is a scientific fact. It comes from many studies that compare those who have reilgious experiences to those who do not. They find constantly that those who are are better ad musted, less depression and mental illness. It's not just anyone says "I am a Christian" but those who have religious experinces.

b. psychotherapeutic discipline re-evalutes Frued's criticism of religion



"Nowadays there are many who do not agree with the notion that religious behavior a priori implies a neurotic state to be decoded and eliminated by analysis (exorcism). That reductionism based on the first works by Freud is currently under review. The psychotherapist should be limited to observing the uses their clients make of the representations of the image of God in their subjective world, that is, the uses of the function of omnipotence. Among the several authors that subscribe to this position are Odilon de Mello Franco (12), .... W. R. Bion (2), one of the most notable contemporary psychoanalysts, ..."

[sources sited by Amaro BION, W. R. Atenção e interpretação (Attention and interpretation). Rio de Janeiro: Imago, 1973.

MELLO FRANCO, O. de. Religious experience and psychoanalysis: from man-as-god to man-with-god. Int. J. of Psychoanalysis (1998) 79,]

c) This relationship is so strong it led to the creation of a whole discipline in psychology; transactionalism

Neilson on Maslow


"One outgrowth of Maslow's work is what has become known as Transpersonal Psychology, in which the focus is on the spiritual well-being of individuals, and values are advocated steadfastly. Transpersonal psychologists seek to blend Eastern religion (Buddhism, Hinduism, etc.) or Western (Christian, Jewish or Moslem) mysticism with a form of modern psychology. Frequently, the transpersonal psychologist rejects psychology's adoption of various scientific methods used in the natural sciences."
"The influence of the transpersonal movement remains small, but there is evidence that it is growing. I suspect that most psychologists would agree with Maslow that much of psychology -- including the psychology of religion -- needs an improved theoretical foundation."

3) Religion is positive factor in physical health.

"Doctrors find Power of faith hard to ignore
By Usha Lee McFarling
Knight Ridder News Service
(Dec. 23, 1998)


"Some suspect that the benefits of faith and churchgoing largely boil down to having social support — a factor that, by itself, has been shown to improve health. But the health effects of religion can't wholly be explained by social support. If, for example, you compare people who aren't religious with people who gather regularly for more secular reasons, the religious group is healthier. In Israel, studies comparing religious with secular kibbutzim showed the religious communes were healthier."Is this all a social effect you could get from going to the bridge club? It doesn't seem that way," said Koenig, who directs Duke's Center for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health .Another popular explanation for the link between religion and health is sin avoidance."

"The religious might be healthier because they are less likely to smoke, drink and engage in risky sex and more likely to wear seat belts.But when studies control for those factors, say by comparing religious nonsmokers with nonreligious nonsmokers, the religious factors still stand out. Compare smokers who are religious with those who are not and the churchgoing smokers have blood pressure as low as nonsmokers. "If you're a smoker, make sure you get your butt in church," said Larson, who conducted the smoking study."

see also: he Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Systematic Reviews And Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects Vol. II, David B. Larson M.D., Natiional Institute for Health Research Dec. 1993 For data on a many studies which support this conclusion.

4) Religion is the most powerful Factor in well being.

Poloma and Pendelton The Faith Factor: An Annotated Bibliography of Systematic Reviews And Clinical Research on Spiritual Subjects Vol. II, David B. Larson M.D., Natiional Institute for Health Research Dec. 1993, p. 3290.


"The authors found that religious satisfaction was the most powerful predicter of existential well being. The degree to which an individual felt close to God was the most important factor in terms of existential well-being. While frequency of prayer contributed to general life satisfaction and personal happiness. As a result of their study the authors concluded that it would be important to look at a combindation of religious items, including prayer, religionship with God, and other measures of religious experince to begin to adequately clearlify the associations of religious committment with general well-being."

(5) Greater happiness

Religion and Happiness

by Michael E. Nielsen, PhD

Many people expect religion to bring them happiness. Does this actually seem to be the case? Are religious people happier than nonreligious people? And if so, why might this be?

Researchers have been intrigued by such questions. Most studies have simply asked people how happy they are, although studies also may use scales that try to measure happiness more subtly than that. In general, researchers who have a large sample of people in their study tend to limit their measurement of happiness to just one or two questions, and researchers who have fewer numbers of people use several items or scales to measure happiness.

What do they find? In a nutshell, they find that people who are involved in religion also report greater levels of happiness than do those who are not religious. For example, one study involved over 160,000 people in Europe. Among weekly churchgoers, 85% reported being "very satisfied" with life, but this number reduced to 77% among those who never went to church (Inglehart, 1990). This kind of pattern is typical -- religious involvement is associated with modest increases in happiness

Argyle, M., and Hills, P. (2000). Religious experiences and their relations with happiness and personality. The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 10, 157-172.

Inglehart, R. (1990). Culture shift in advanced industrial society. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Nielsen, M. E. (1998). An assessment of religious conflicts and their resolutions. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 37, 181-190.

Nielsen again:

In the days before research boards reviewed research proposals before the studies were conducted, Pahnke devised an experiment to induce people to have a religious experience. On a Good Friday, when they were to meditate in a chapel for 2.5 hours, twenty theology students were given either psilocybin or a placebo. The students who were given the psilocybin reported intense religious experiences, as you might imagine. Their levels of happiness also were significantly greater than the control group reported. But what is especially interesting is that these effects remained 6 months after the experiment, as the psilocybin group reported more "persistent and positive changes" in their attitudes to life than did the placebo group.

Pahnke, W. H. (1966). Drugs and mysticism. International Journal of Parapsychology, 8, 295-314.

Now finally let's not forget the context of the original issue. I was showing that belief in God cannot be an "extraordinary claim" because it's normative for human experince. That means it sets the standard. I have proven that it does. This has nothing to do with proving that it's true, it is merely a matter of proving that it is standard for human experince. The vast majority of all humans who have ever lived have believed in some form of God, we are fit to be religious, it's better for our minds and our bodies. We were religious 65,000 years ago, our distant ancestors, our cousins the Neanderthals, were religious. Humanity has been religious longer than it has been human! Obviously then it is normative. IT doesn't matter that there are few exceptions, that's not the point. It doesn't make you a bad person, to not be religious. Nor does it make you abnormal or somehow lacking. But is the standard human experience to be religious. that is simply a fact.

Monday, October 12, 2009

To be or not to be: Necessary or Contingent


I argue that since eternal being can't be contingent it must be necessary. Many atheists tell me this is utterly illogical, but they do on assuming (I think) that there is some third choice or that contingency is just arbitrary.

This is actaully quote logical given the assumptions that I make:

(1) Necesity = That which cannot fail or cease to exist.

(2) Necessity = that which can fail or cease to exist.

(3) The other type of necessity is dependence for existence upon something prior or ontologically higher existent.

(4) both types of contingency are related given that 3 is the only concrete example we can give to explain why 2 would be the case.

(5) Necessity and contingency are the only choices for an existent.

I have argued the correct nature of the first four elsewhere. I would now like to demonstrate why assumption 5 is true.

Aside from Being and nothingness, the most basic categories that can ever been made concerning existence are these:


Contingency/ fiction

These can be subdivided But these are the most basic you can't draw up a fifth category. These take in all other matters related to existence. Note that impossibility and necessity are related. Impossible is just the "down side" or "negative" version of Necessary. That's why Hartshorne argues that God must be either necessary or impossible, because the concept of God rules out contingent.

Fictional is the negative of contingent. What all of this means is a thing can be either necessary or impossible, if it is not contingent. If it is contingent it can either be contingent or fictional. So functional things are contingencies that don't exist in the "real" world.


Necessary: Being itself. It can't cease or fail to exist. This means something that is necessary has to be and it has to what it is, there are no circumstances through which it would have been different.

Impossible Meaning an impossibility cannot exist as a matter of logical self contradiction; there's a flaw at the base of the concept which contradicts and because of that it can't exist; example is square circles.

Contingent An existing thing that can fail or cease to exist. When we say it can fail it means the circumstances that produced could have been different and it would not have been; example would be one's parents. My mother could have married another man and I would not exist.

Fiction Something that does not exist but it could have, just doesn't happen to becuase the circumstances that would have produced it just didn't materialize; example, Huckleberry Finn. He was made up by Mark Twain but had there been people like his parents then he could have existed, there is no contradiction in the concept that would prevent his existence.

There are no other possibilities. This no fifth choice. Either a thing is necessary or it is contingent. If it is not contingent it can only be either impossible or necessary.

A fictional thing is contingent but it is non existent contingency, meaning if it did exist there would be no logical contradiction to it's existence but it fails to exist because the circumstances that would produce it failed to materialize. That's the negative side of contingency.
I call that "fictional."


When I say being has to be necessary if it is not contingent, this is why I say so. Because it cant' be impossible or it wouldn't be being. It can't be functional or it would not be being, so it can only be N or c and if it not c then it must be N.

Naturalistic things are all contingencies. Atheists will always argue that this can't be proved. But they also can never give an example that contradicts the basic fact that all things we encounter in nature are always contingent. There are no counter examples.

They say QM particles.

While it is true that QMp's don't seem to have direct causal agents, they do require frameworks to be already in place; time, physical law and vacuum flux. That means they require prior conditions. So they are contingent.

The whole of the universe

They will say drawing the conclusion about the whole form the parts is fallacy of composition. Two answers.

(1) Logicians say that if the parts are all identical then the whole can be understood as derived from the parts and it is not the fallacy of composition. That means since the parts are all contingent then whole is contingent.

Example would be dominoes. you have a row of them and one falls they all fall down. You can't then say "but the whole is standing up, just because the parts are laying down doesn't mean the whole is standing." Well, yea, it does. The whole is not standing.

(2) Atheists would have to prove that the natural realm has to exist and can't be different than it is in order to show it's not contingent. There is no argument based upon empirical data that we can turn to that shows us that the natural world has to exist as it is.

Moreover the option of the universe just popping into existence out of nothing is illogical. We could point to a lot of reasons but the main one is there's no becoming in a timeless void. Total absolute nothing (the nothing it pops in from) would be timeless because time is something. Nothing could ever change if there was a timeless void.

Therefore eternal being must be necessary being.

The problem with connecting the dots and drawing the rest of the God attributes from being and then arguing "therefore God" is that atheists feel cheated because they are not willing to accept where logic takes us.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

American Presidents who have won

this morning at 6am eastern time.

ahahahahahaha lOLOLOL ahahahahahahhaha whoooooooooooo!


Thursday, October 08, 2009

New God argument: Eternal necessity


God: theological definitions defined operationally, that means theology is the field of study for concepts of God. One should use Theological sources to document definitions of God. But just to show atheists how unreasonable they are to disparage theology, I will quote from Webster's online:

Webster online

Main Entry: 1god
Pronunciation: \ˈgäd also ˈgȯd\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German got god
Date: before 12th century

1 capitalized : the supreme or ultimate reality: as a : the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshipped as creator and ruler of the universe b Christian Science : the incorporeal divine Principle ruling over all as eternal Spirit : infinite Mind
2 : a being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect or part of reality
3 : a person or thing of supreme value4 : a powerful ruler

Take the first definition, supreme ultimate reality. They define God as the basis of reality or ultimate reality, that's how I define God.

Attributes of God:

A. Ground of Being
B. Eternal
C. Ontologically necessary
D. Final cause or ultimate prior condition.

note: I don't include consciousness because it's not a primary attribute of God. Not to say I think God is not conscoius, but other things are conscious so this is not a quality that uniquely makes God God.

Necessity or Necessary being: That which cannot cease or fail to be. Based upon Felws definition of logical necessity Philosophical Dictionary p 242 paraphrase: a proposition the denial of which would result in a logical self contradiction. Applied ontologically we have that which cannot cease or fail to exist. This is so because the proposition of the non existence such an entity or thing or aspect of reality would be a contradiction. Thus since it would be a contradiction if X didn't exist then it can't cease or fail to exist.

Contingency: Flew (same page) defines logical contingency as that which if the proposition was denied would not cause a contradiction. So in ontological terms something which could fail or cease to be without a contradiction.

That means I will argue that it means explicitly that if the circumstances that made X possible had been different X would not have existed. Thus to be non contingent X must be such that it does not depend upon prior conditions at all.

Prior condition: Ontologically prior not necessary temporally prior. that is hierarchically necessary not necessarily temporally so.


(1) Goal is to argue for rational warrant for belief

(2) God is not "a being" But the eternal necessary aspect of being, or "being itself" (aka "primordial being).

God transcends the neat understood categories of finite temporal existence.

(3) Attributes of God are mutually exclusive

in other words there can't be two grounds of being;

any aseity is all asiety, in other words there can't be two eternal necessary aspects of being, if there were they would both just be eternal necessary being. This is so for the reason from no 2.


P(1) All the attributes of God are indexed by God's eternal aspect

In other words, all the attributes stem from this one: being eternal God would be ontologically necessary since it's logical that the one eternal existing aspect of reality would give rise to the temporal aspects. Being necessary and eternal God would naturally be the ground of being, and being the ground of being God could naturally be the final cause or ultimate prior condition: Assumption: that change in a timeless void is impossible and temporal beings can't just spring from nothing for no reason.

p(2) Temporal existence is contingent upon eternal being to bring it about (from assumption in P1).

I argue it is reasonable to assume that since there is no changeless void the temporal aspects must be somehow dependent upon the eternal aspects of Being.

P(3)The Natural Realm is marked by the Temporal


Nature: in the sense of "natural world"

Webster online

Main Entry: na·ture
Pronunciation: \ˈnā-chər\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin natura, from natus, past participle of nasci to be born — more at nation
Date: 14th century

1 a : the inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing : essence b : disposition, temperament
2 a : a creative and controlling force in the universe b : an inner force or the sum of such forces in an individual

nine entries no 2 implies cause in terms of "controlling force."


Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. ...


The term nature comes from the Latin Natura, which is equivalent to the Greek "physis" meaning Life from life. We this reflected in the Wiki definition where it refers to life in general. The point is that the basic assumption of life from life is causality, so the basic concept of causal connection in embedded in the word itself in it's basic definition.

(for docs on natural see Mathias Joseph Scheeben Nature and Grace 1856).

Brainy Quote

The existing system of things; the world of matter, or of matter and mind; the creation; the universe.The personified sum and order of causes and effects; the powers which produce existing phenomena, whether in the total or in detail; the agencies which carry on the processes of creation or of being; -- ..., embodying the total of all finite agencies and forces as disconnected from a creating or ordering intelligence.The established or regular course of things; usual order of events; connection of cause and effect. Not the whole quote, see the link.

Word reference.com

5 nature
a causal agent creating and controlling things in the universe; "the laws of nature"; "nature has seen to it that men are stronger than women"
Category Tree:

Even the concept of Materialism is based upon cause and effect.

a. Materailism based upon cause and effect

Dictonary of Philosphy Anthony Flew, article on "Materialism"

"...the belief that everything that exists is ether matter or entirely dependent upon matter for its existence."

dependence = C/E

Center For Theology and the Natural Sciences Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate: God, Humanity and the Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999) http://www.ctns.org/Information/information.html Is the Big Bang a Moment of Creation?(this source is already linked above)

"...Beyond the Christian community there was even greater unease. One of the fundamental assumptions of modern science is that every physical event can be sufficiently explained solely in terms of preceding physical causes. Quite apart from its possible status as the moment of creation, the Big Bang singularity is an offense to this basic assumption. Thus some philosophers of science have opposed the very idea of the Big Bang as irrational and untestable."

b) Something from nothing contradicts materialism

Science and The Modern World, Alfred North Whitehead.
NY: free Press, 1925, (1953) p.76

"We are content with superficial orderings form diverse arbitrary starting points. ... science which is employed in their development [modern thought] is based upon a philosophy which asserts that physical causation is supreme, and which disjoints the physical cause from the final end. It is not popular to dwell upon the absolute contradiction here involved."[Whitehead was an atheist]

P(4) It follows that an eternal aspect of being must be

from 2-4, since it would be illogical to assume that temporal agencies just spring up by themselves for no reason with no connection to anything eternal, being must be eternal, otherwise either nothing would have ever been or it would have ceased to be, unless one is willing to believe that all things that exist are only a few billion years old and before that there was absolute nothing. But that would still leave without an explanation as to how something came form nothing.

P(5) Since Being must have an eternal aspect, and since it is logical to assume that this aspect gives rise to temporal being, and since it is logical to assume that nature is only temporal and not eternal it is logical to assume that a trans temporal trans-natural aspect eternal necessary being is also the ground of being nd the final cause of all that is.

P(6) Since an eternal necessary Ground of all being that functions as final cause must exist, then there must be in existence an aspect of Being that is identical to what we call "God," Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that God exists.


P(7) Should atheists try to argue that nature could exhibit these aspects they have to prove a distinction between such aspects when used of God and when used of "nature." They are merely trying to barrow divine attributes to lend to nature, any example of these attributes is merely an example of the divine.

Proof: Of this final corollary proof is that the juxtaposition of finite or temporal and eternal in the human mind has always produced the sense of the numinous that stands behind all religious experience, the creation of religion itself. When we find these attributes, supposedly in nature, they evoke in us a sense of worship and subjection and the sublime. This is demonstrate by study after study about the trigger effects of mystical experience.

This is the reason for the stray sky at night effect. It resonates with the God pod.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Models of Atonement


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. The inadequacy of Financial Transactions

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

B. Christ the Perfect Revelation of God to Humanity

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

C. Death in Solidarity with Victims

1) Support from Modern Theologians

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

2) Scriptural

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

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

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

D. Meaning of Solidarity and Salvation.

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

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

E. Atonement is a Primitive Concept?

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

F. Unfair to Jesus as God's Son?

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