Monday, July 08, 2024

Answering the counter apologist on contingency argument

This article, by the "counter Apologist" (CA), appears to be an attack upon the form of cosmological argument known as "argument from  contingecy" which would include the modal argument. He does mention this but that's not what it's about.He also gives the principle of sufficient reason a glancing blow but it's not about that either. It's really using the Trinity as an example of various conceptual problems of contingency.[1] This involves necessity and contingency which will designated as "N/c."

He wants to set a ground rule that what is necessary cannot be based merely upon assertion so that contingencies can't be jacked up into necessities.[2] Two examples: God is necessary and God is Trinity thus aspects of God that make God  Triune  must be necessary.God is necessary but that would mean being the same in all possible worlds. However,  the aspects that spell out Trinity are cointingent such as consciousness and number, there must be three members of the godhead by why is three necessary?

This is pretty easy for me to illustrate for theists with an example. If an atheist pointed to the physical universe and our best description of the laws of nature - ie. the relatively short equation describing quantum field theory and then they said “well this is the description of the necessary entity unwriting all of reality”, the theists would object and say “that’s ad hoc!”.But why? Well because it’s not hard to conceive of those equations being slightly different, and the atheist can’t offer any formal, logical derivation showing the necessity of those equations.

All of his arguments are contingent (no pun) upon this point. But here his argument is very mistaken.He assumes we can assign contingency to some aspect like personality based upon our understanding of the thing itself. Personalities as we know them are contingent, yet that is relationship-derived.In other words human personalities are contingent because humans are contingent. Since we live in a world of contingencies any idea we use will be rooted  in that modal operator. We ask how can God have personality when God must be necessary? Not to argue God does have a personality but for the sake of argument I use this concept.

Personalities are contingent when they are human personalities. That does not mean that God could not have a necessary personality, one that can't change in any possible world, not because personalities are themselves necessary but because a personality belonging to God would be necessary since it is an aspect of the divine. By the same token. while God is necessary ontologcally there are divine attributes which are contingent. For example God being my saviour is contingent upon my accepting God's rescue and salvation.But that does not mean God is contingent nor does it make me necessary.That is a conceptual attribute not an ontological one.
Simply put, it’s out of line to draw a neat little circle around the description of what appears to be contingent and then call it necessary.  This doesn’t really provide any explanatory advantage, all it does is arbitrarily call something necessary. My contention is that this is exactly what theists do when they posit god as a necessary being that provides an explanation for all of reality.
This is exactly what we don't do.`` draw a neat little circle around the description of what appears to be contingent and then call it necessary." Christians base the necessity of divine attribute upon God's eternal nature not upon how things look in themselves.We base it upon its relationship to divine essence.

N/c have a causal dimension to their meaning, a contingent being (a being such that if it exists, it could have not-existed or could cease to exist) exists. This contingent being has a cause of or explanation for its existence. ... Therefore, what causes or explains the existence of this contingent being must include a non-contingent (necessary) being.Jul 13, 2004 Cosmological Argument (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)[3]

 This means that it relies on our experience of the world--beyond the tools of ... that some things are caused to come into existence by other things, and that ... Aquinas supposes that not everything can be contingent in this way, ...[4]

Here is how Aquinas defines N/c

A contingent thing is one that either in fact exists, but might not have, or one that does not in fact exist, but might have. For example, Alumni Hall exists, but it might not have (we can imagine that they just never built it); so Alumni Hall is a contingent thing. Unicorns, on the other hand, do not in fact exist, but it seems possible that they might have; so unicorns are contingent things. There are lots of contingent things: you, me, your parents, my parents, etc. In contrast, a necessary thing is one that in fact exists, but is also something that could not have failed to exist. In other words, it is logically impossible that a necessary being could have not existed. Many people think that numbers are necessary things--i.e., that the world could never have been such that numbers did not exist. Of course, relevant to our present discussion, many think that God is similar to numbers in this way--that is, that God could not have failed to exist, and hence, is a necessary being.[5]
Here we see the causal dimension to the idea:
In the Third Way, Aquinas claims that if we look at the world, we will find that there are contingent beings all around us. We realize that not everything is something that must be, for we observe things before they come into existence, and then see them go out of existence. Aquinas supposes that not everything can be contingent in this way, for he thinks that if everything need not have been, then at one time there was nothing. But, he continues, if at one time there was nothing, then there wouldn't be anything now; for things cannot come into  existence by themselves, but must have been brought into existence by something that is already in existence. Thus, it must not be the case that there are only contingent beings. It must be that there is a necessary being, on which the existence of all other contingent beings depend. For Aquinas, this necessary being is God.[6]
Conciousness,to stay with the example, is neither contingent nor necessary in and of itself. It is either one depemdimng upon it's relationship to the devine essence. Gods coscciousness is necessary becausse it is part of somethinng uncreated and eternal. Human consciousness is contingent because it depends for its exstence upon it's relation to creatioon as a product of creation.

CA says:
I’m going to start with a great example from my Christian friends. After all Chrsitians will posit god as a “necessary being” but then also describe god as a trinity. The idea that god is three persons in one being, which frankly sounds incoherent - but they make a large amount of metaphysical assumptions about the nature of being and personhood so as to avoid those logical contradictions....The problem with this is that by all rights a “trinity” appears to be a contingent property, especially once we grant the assumptions necessary to avoid it being contradictory in the first place. After all, why is god only 3 persons and not 2, 4, 5, or any natural number?
When he says "The problem with this is that by all rights a 'trinity' appears to be a contingent property, especially once we grant the assumptions necessary to avoid it being contradictory in the first place" he's making the flip side mistake he acuses Christians of makimg. He bases contingency upon appearance rather than relationship to the divine. As for the number of persons in the Trinity there could be a reason. Even assuming no meaningful reasoon it is not and not a brute fact; God is the only true higher pupose thus can't be a brute fact.

CA takes on an argument by someone called "the Dray Apologist" and that is based upon the Dry person's concept of the Trinity. Thus ideais heeretical from a Christian perspectio e becauseit posotops a Trimmity in which the second person is created: "God is supposed to exist without limit, but then when the second person in the trinity is created the will somehow increases? If god was already supposed to be the maximal being, how could its will increase?" Yet he claims this id a problem for all Christians,


[1]The Counter Apologist, "Countering the Contingency Argument & Defending Brute Facts," The Counter Apologist blog, (February 14, 2022)

[2]Ibid."First I want to draw some boundaries around what both sides should consider to be “off limits” in terms of how we argue about necessary things. It should be considered improper to draw a neat little circle around an entity and a description of its attributes and then simply say “well this thing is necessary."

[3]Bruce Reichenbach, "Cosmological Argument", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2022 Edition), Edward N. Zalta & Uri Nodelman (eds.), URL = . Jul 13, 2004 Cosmological Argument (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) Copyright © 2022 by

Bruce Reichenbach Professor Emeritus of Philosophy after teaching philosophy for 43 years at Augsburg reichen@augsburg.eduK

[4]Megan B Wallace, "the Cosmological Argument: Contingent vs. Necessary"(2008)

Megan B Wallace Visiting Assistant Professor in the Philosophy Department at Oberlin College. I recently received my PhD in Philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

[5]Ibid. [6]>

Sunday, June 30, 2024

The Olivet Discourse part 1

 photo Coming_zpsd3d86990.jpg

The so-called olivet discourse (from mount of olives) is held up by atheists as an example of a Jesus prophecy that did not come true. In it Jesus seems to say that the current living generation wont pass "Most certainly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things are accomplished" (Matthew 24:34)."

He also says this will occur at the same time as the destruction of he temple. A thread where the CARM atheists argue Jesus was wrong (a false prophet in fact because his prophecy of the end times didn't come true). They quotes from five scholars to alleged "prove" this and none of them offer any real proof. All they offer is opinion. Only a couple of them are Chrsitains.

Jesus of Nazareth had expected to see the Temple destroyed, the Kingdom come, and the new Temple established in 30, at or as the climax of his own mission, and Mark’s community preserved the memory of Jesus’ proclamation of this belief. --Paula Fredriksen. [1]
"Jesus, the millenarian prophet, like all millenarian prophets, was wrong: reality has taken no notice of his imagination." --Dale Allison [2]

 Lookimg atthe passage upo which alll of this is prediucated,

NIV Mark 13: 1 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” 2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; everyone will be thrown down.” 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
We can crystallize two major issues:

(1) there is no passage where Jesus says "the temple is destroyed and Messiah returns at the same time." As long as that is the case it's an open question if he was talking about that era or a future date for the return.

(2) The hypocritical way the atheists regard scholarship when it stands for their view and when it stands against it. Other scholars disagree with their scholars. Will they look for reasons or will they just insist "those are fundies so they don't count?"

.......As to the first point I would use their own ideological propaganda device against them:EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS REQUITE EXTRAORDINARY PROOF!

There is nothing extraordinary about liberal theologians refusing to believe the Gospels. Especially when most of them are not Chrsitians. The extraordinary evidence I demand is a text that says "these two events, listed in the passage in Matt" will happen at the same time. That's the only circumstance under which this would prove that Jesus was wrong. This passeage "the Olivette discourses" is in all three synoptic gospels. So I start with Mark. I think Mark is the key because it's first written, but Math supplies the one crucial fact that there are two distinct questions. .......Of course the temple was destroyed in AD 70 and on the eve of 2013 the other part has not happened yet so therefore it was wrong. Bible wrong, Christianity not true, blah blah blah.

.......Matt 26-27  says the Messiah will return with an army of angels in the sky, and it marks the introduction of end times events and that's where it becomes clear we are talking about the end times. My answer up to this point was to compare this to the passage in Matthew where Mathew makes it clear there are two separate questions. (1) when will the temple be destroyed (2) when will the Messiah return. I have argued that the redactors got the answers to these questions cross threaded. The real answer to when the temple will be destroyed is "this generation will not pass away." The answer to the return is "you will see angels coming in the clouds." .......It's obvious this grouping is logical for three reasons:

(1) this is the way the early church understood events. They were Jews, they saw themselves not as a separate faith called "Christianity" but as Jews. they could not conceive of Judaism with no temple. so they assumed the Messiah would return (that means they had to assume he would go away) and temple be destroyed as part of the same event, the end of the age. So they mix the answers of two separate questions because they don't see them as operating.

(2) the answers go together in such a way that Messiah is part of the army in the air, if you look at the passage it links Messiah with the angles. "26 “At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens" so then if we assume those go together then by default the gee national remark is the answer to the other question.

(3) there is no reason why these can't happen at two different times. Taken that way they work. there is no contradiction no failure it just hasn't all been totally fulfilled yet because it's not time yet

The following issues are what the whole debate boils down to:

(1) the real issue was the temple and that's the question Jesus was answering (maybe there were two questions, since Mark came firs let's assume not).

(2) the redactors added the end times stuff because that's the way they thought, that's their conception of how it had to be.

(3) the temple was just destroyed the same year that this version of the Gospel was produced and began circulating so we can look upon the redactor's additions about end times as commentary spurred by recent events.

(4) in this version Jesus doesn't say "this generation will not pass away (unless I missed it but I looked and I don't see it). so in that case the cross thread idea is unnecessary. we can just assume that mark being first originally dealt with the temple the redactor added the end times stuff and Matt added the bit about the generation.

The temple had been destroyed around right around this time, it was real important to console the people tel them the ord will return soon,


[1]Paula Fredriksen. From Jesus to Christ, Second Edition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000): pg. 84

[2] Dale Allison, Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998): p. 218.

Friday, June 21, 2024

No Evidence for God? Part 2 Empirical arguments

Now we will look at not deductive but empirical. Rather than trying to prove that God is the logical conclusion from deduction we try to shown that only God accounts  for certian sets of data. I am only going to look at two arguments, those I use the most. But there are many such arguments such as design arguments of all kinds. I will look at Religious experience and fine tuning.This will be in two parts

Argumentfrom reoigiouss experiece: Empirical Supernature

The M scale is very important in my book The Trace of God by Joseph Hinman

 please click here, go to my book trailer and watch it so it will move higher up the ladder on You tube, so it will  be seen by more people.

  Order The Trace of God, by Joseph Hinman on Amazon

            Why should we assume that such experiences are experiences of the divine? The first reason is because the content of the experience is largely that of the divine. Even when the experience is interpreted by the receiver not to be about God the receiver has been known to act in a way consistently with belief in God, and the experience described is the same experience as those described by those who say ‘this was God.’ Ergo it’s just a matter of interpretation. The vast majority of those who have these experiences do believe they are about God.[1] Secondly, there is a voluminous and ancient tradition of writing about experiences by people from all over the world, and the brunt of this tradition is that it’s an experience of the divine. Literary and philosophical works such as Mysticism by Evelyn Underhill,[2] The works of W.T. Stace[3] and many other such writings which catalogue the writings of these experiences, and many more works of the experiences of individual mystics by the mystics themselves. Thirdly, grounded in empirical evidence, the universal nature of such experiences implies the experience of a source external to the human mind encountered by all who have such experiences. When I say “external” I mean it originates externally but is experienced internally. This includes human brain structure and brain chemistry as a conduit not that it circumvents natural processes.

            The works of W.T. Stace are very influential. He shows that, as Ralph Hood Jr. put it, “within and eventually outside of the great faith traditions mysticism has flourished.”[4]  Stace offers five characteristics that demonstrate the commonalities to mystical experience; these are characteristics that are found universally in all cultures and in all forms of mystical experience:

The contemporary interest in the empirical research of mysticism can be traced to Stace’s (Stace, 1960) demarcation of the phenomenological characteristics of mystical experiences (Hood, 1975). In Stace’s conceptualization, mystical experiences had five characteristics (Hood, 1985, p.176):

                1.      The mystical experience is noetic. The person having the experience perceives it as a valid source of knowledge and not just a subjective experience.

2.      The mystical experience is ineffable, it cannot simply be described in words.

3.      The mystical experience is holy. While this is the religious aspect of the experience it is not necessarily expressed in any particular theological terms.

4.      The mystical experience is profound yet enjoyable and characterized by positive affect.

5.      The mystical experience is paradoxical. It defies logic. Further analysis of reported mystical experiences suggests that the one essential feature of mysticism is an experience of unity (Hood, 1985). The experience of unity involves a process of ego loss and is generally expressed in one of three ways (Hood, 1 976a). The ego is absorbed into that which transcends it, or an inward process by which the ego gains pure awareness of self, or a combination of the two.[5]

            In speaking of “mystical experience” we are not talking about visions or voices. We are not talking about miracles or God speaking to people. We are talking about “the sense of the numinous,” a sense of presence, a sense of undifferentiated unity of all things. The claim is often made that this is an unmediated experience of reality. The veil is taken back on the thing behind the façade and reality is experienced directly. The notion of an unmediated experience is debatable and not essential to an understanding of the experience. A couple of examples might be helpful. It’s helpful to understand that mystical experiences come in two forms, introvertive and extrovertive. Introvertive experiences are without time and space; they are not keyed to any external landmark or visual que. They seem to be beyond word, thought, or image. Extrovertive experiences are often keyed to a land mark and seem like projecting a sense onto the image of nature. For example the sense that God is pervading the physical space in nature around which one views a scene in nature. Or a sense that all the natural landscape around forms some sort of whole that’s meaningful and indicative as an understanding of all reality.

Common Core Vs. Perennial Philosophy

Hood takes these kinds of statements as phenomenological and descriptive of a personal experience. The true nature of that experience as unmediated is not important. The issue is that its universality, since it should be culturally constructed, is indicative of more than just a trick of brain chemistry or cultural constructs. Ralph Hood Jr. argues for what is called “the common core hypothesis.” This is not a perennial philosophy one often finds discussed as part of mystical experience. The distinction is hat perennial almost construct a separate religion out of mystical experience and puts it over against faith traditions. The common core hypothesis merely recognizes that there is a common core experience that is universal to mystical experience, and thus it can be argued that it’s an experience of some reality external to just human brain structure. Yet it doesn’t try to collapse faith traditions into a particular theological formulation. Moreover, the common core hypothesis just takes the common core as a phenomenological reality not a theological or ontological demand about reality. Yet mystical experience “promotes a special type of human experience that is at once unitive and nondiscursive, at once self fulfilling and self-effacing.”[6] Introvertive mystical has been identified as “pure consciousness.” This kind of experience lacks content and can’t be tied to a cultural construct or personal influence.[7] While it is the case that these kinds of experiences are interpreted in various ways, and it is the case that various theological explanations tailored to a given tradition are advanced for these, as many as there are mystics to have the, the real diversity comes not from the experience but from the explanations attached to the experiences.[8] Much of the discussion about common core is tied to the texts of a given literature. There are various bodies of mystical literature, the important one for our purposes is the empirical. This is a measurement based empirical scientific literature such as the work of Hood.[9]

            Many names loom large in that body of literature; Greeley, Maslow, Wuthnow, Nobel, Lukoff and Lu, none more prolific or significant than Hood. Hood entered the field in the early 70s when he was a young man. Since that time he has done a huge a mount of research and is best known for developing what is called ‘the Mysticism scale,” or “M scale.” This is a 32 item questionnaire that is scored in a particular way and is calculated to test the veracity of Stace’s theories. In other words, if actual modern mystics around the world experience the things Stace thought they do, in the way Stace thought they experienced them (see the five point list above) they would answer certain questions in a certain way.[10] Hood’s work in the M scale is becoming the standard operating procedure for study of mystical and religious experiences. It hasn’t yet been understood by everyone so we find that people evoking religious experience by manipulating stimulation of the brain don’t use the M scale for research and thus can’t prove they are evoking real mystical experiences.[11]  Dale Caird said that “research into mystical experience has been greatly facilitated”[12] by Hood’s M scale. Caird did one of the studies that validated the M scale. Burris (1999) has shown that the M scale is the most commonly used measurement for the study of mysticism.[13]

            The M scale enables us to determine the validity of a mystical experience among contemporary people. In other words, did someone have a “real mystical experience” or are they just carried by the idea of having one?[14] There are two major versions of the M scale, what is called “two factor” solution and a three factor solution. The two factors are items assessing an experience of unity (questions such as “have you had an experience of unity?”) and items refereeing to religious and knowledge claims. In other words questions such as “did you experience God’s presence?” Or did you experience God’s love?” In each section there are two positively worded and two negatively worded items.[15] The problem with the two factor analysis is that it tried to be neutral with Langue, according to Hood himself. It spoke of “experience of ultimate reality” but with no indication that ultimate reality means reality of God. As Hood puts it, “no langue is neutral.”[16] One group might want ultimate reality defined as “Christ” while others who are not in a Christian tradition might eschew such a move. In response to this problem Hood and Williamson, around 2000, developed what they termed “the three factor solution.” They made two additional versions of the scale one made reference where appropriate to “God” or “Christ.” They had a “God” version and a “Chrsit” version and both were given to Christian relevant samples. The scales were “factor analyzed” that just means they weighed each difference as a factor such as it’s mention of God or mention of Christ. In this factor analysis, where the scale referred to “God,” “Christ” or simply “reality” the “factor structures were identical.” This means the respondents saw “God,” “Christ” and “ultimate reality” as coterminous, or as the same things. That means Christians who have mystical experience understand God, Christ, and Reality as reffering to the same things.[17]

Long-Term Effects


*Say their lives are more meaningful,
*think about meaning and purpos
e *Know what purpose of life is
*Meditate more
*Score higher on self-rated personal talents and capabilities
*Less likely to value material possessions, high pay, job security, fame, and having lots of friends
*Greater value on work for social change, solving social problems, helping need
y *Reflective, inner-directed, self-aware, self-confident life style[18]


*Experience more productive of psychological health than illness
*Less authoritarian and dogmatic
*More assertive, imaginative, self-sufficient
*intelligent, relaxed
*High ego strength,
*relationships, symbolization, values,
*integration, allocentrism,
*psychological maturity,
*self-acceptance, self-worth,
*autonomy, authenticity, need for solitude,
*increased love and compassion[18]

Short-Term Effects (usually people who did not previously know of these experiences)

*Experience temporarily disorienting, alarming, disruptive *Likely changes in self and the world, *space and time, emotional attitudes, cognitive styles, personalities, doubt sanity and reluctance to communicate, feel ordinary language is inadequate[19]

*Some individuals report psychic capacities and visionary experience destabilizing relationships with family and friends Withdrawal, isolation, confusion, insecurity, self-doubt, depression, anxiety, panic, restlessness, grandiose religious delusions [19]

Links to Maslow's Needs, Mental Health, and Peak Experiences When introducing entheogens to people, I find it's helpful to link them to other ideas people are familiar with. Here are three useful quotations. 1) Maslow - Beyond Self Actualization is Self Transcendence ``I should say that I consider Humanistic, Third Force Psychology to be transitional, a preparation for a still `higher' Fourth Psychology, transhuman, centered in the cosmos rather than in human needs and interest, going beyond humanness, identity, self actualization and the like.''

[1]Joseoph Hinman, The Trace of God: A Rational Warrant for Belief,Cp;prabo Sorig: Grand Viadict, 2014.

[2] Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism: A study on the Nature and Development of Man’s Spiritual consciousness. New York: Dutton, 1911.

[3] W.T. Stace, Teachings of the Mystics: Selections from the Greatest Mystics and Mystical Writers of the World. New American Library 1960. A good General overview of Stace’s understanding of mysticism is Mystical Experience Registry: Mysticism Defined by W.T. Stace. found onine at URL:

[4] Ralph Hood Jr. “The Common Core Thesis in the Study of Mysticism.” In Where God and Science Meet: How Brain and Evolutionary Studies Alter Our Understanding of Religion. Patrick Mcnamara ed. West Port CT: Prager Publications, 2006, 119-235. Google books on line version: URL visited 8/20/2012

[5] Robert J. Voyle, “The Impact of Mystical Experiences Upon Christian Maturity.” originally published in pdf format: google html version here: Voyle is quoting Hood in 1985, Hood in return is speaking Stace. =us&ct=clnk&cd=2&ie=UTF-8

[6] Matilal (1992) in Hood, ibid, 127.

[7] Hood, ibid.

[8] ibid.

[9] ibid.

[10] find JL Hinman, the Trace of God, Studies chapter, also Hood ibid, 128.

[11] Find, John Hick

[12] Dale Caird, “The structure of Hood's Mysticism Scale: A factor analytic study.”journal for the Scientific study of religion 1988, 27 (1) 122-126

[13] Burris (1999) quoted in Hood, ibid, 128

[14] Hood, ibid, 128

[15] ibid.

[16] ibid, 129

[17] ibid

[18]Wuthnow, Robert (1978). "Peak Experiences: Some Empirical Tests." Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18 (3), 59-75.

[19]Noble, Kathleen D. (1987). ``Psychological Health and the Experience of Transcendence.'' The Counseling Psychologist, 15 (4), 601-614.

Monday, June 17, 2024

No evidence for God?

We all know atheists claim there's no evidence for God, It's their no 1 mantra.

Dave Matthews Joe Hinman not sure what you said, and i’m not looking for arguments for the existence of god, i’m expecting you to show me proof of the existence of your particular god.[facebook]

Brian Bimmer Jørgensen

Apostolic Nsibambi Asuman, so why believe in your god , when you have no evidence for his existence?[facebook]

Atheists often use slogans like "Arguments are not evidence" "Claims are not evidence" "There's no evidence for god", so my question for you would be to percisely define evidence. What evidence would be sufficient to establish god existence?r/DebateAnAtheist

I am going to lay out a systematic look at the evidence that I use There is more I will just be lookig at the stufff I use.

The first and most basic sort of proof is the deductive argument, Here is an example of my version of the cosmlogocal argumemt whichI use all the time:
1. Something exists.
2. Whatever exists exists either necessarily or contingently.
3. It is impossible that only contingent things exist.
4. Therefore, there exists at least one necessary thing.
5. If there is a necessary thing, that thing is appropriately called 'God.'
6. Therefore God exists.

Philosopher Samuel Clarke (1675-1729) put forth a modern formulation of the cosmological argument:
Philosopher Samuel Clarke put forth a modern formulation of the cosmological argument taking a slightly different path than Aquinas’s famous cosmological argument. But like Aquinas, Clarke adopts the premise that all beings that we encounter must have causes. Contrary to Aquinas, Clarke differentiates between contingent and necessary beings. The contrast he draws is such that if a being owes it’s existence to a cause then it is dependent; otherwise it is independent. Our experience shows us that there are chains of dependent beings, but, as Clarke points out, they must either (1) be caused by a necessary being or (2) be an aspect of an infinite continuation of contingent beings which, as Clarke explains, either begins with a necessary/independent being or is part of an infinite series which exhausts the possible logical origins for any continuation of beings.[2]
"Samuel Clarke (1675–1729) was the most influential British metaphysician and theologian in the generation between Locke and Berkeley," [3]

William Rowe tried to strngthen the argument but concluded it was only as strog as the principle of sufficent reason.......[4]

Atheists used to argue with this and when thy did that they would question the big about necessety and contingency.I think we pulled that finaly becauseit;s part of logic. Now atheists on facebook jut don't even botherto argue they merely avoid it. They do actually claim that such argumets are not evidence.

1- "The only sufficient evidence would be for God to be directly shown to me." This suggests that experiencing a direct, personal encounter with God would be the most compelling evidence. However, this is impossible since most religious conceptions of God consider Him to be a transcendent, supernatural being beyond direct sensory perception. r/DebateAnAtheist

My argumemt avoids the pit falls of Clareeke's becasueI don't argumemtall things need causessI just assert things exist then discus necesssity and contingecy/

Search instead for deductive logioc is proof

"Definition: Proof by Deduction. Proof by deduction (or deductive proof) starts from a known fact or definition and then proceeds in a series of logically justified steps until it reaches a final conclusion. Proof by deduction is the most common type of proof."

Lesson Explainer: Mathematical Logic and Proof - Nagwa

Nagwa › explainers

Trascendental signifer argumemt:

The argument
1. Any rational, coherent, and meaningful view of the universe must of necessity presuppose organizing principles (Ops)
2. OP's summed up in TS
3. Modern Thought rejects TS outright or takes out all aspects of mind.
4. Therefore, Modern thought fails to provide a rational, coherent, and meaningful view of the universe.
5. minds organize and communicate meaning

6. Therefore universal mind, offers the best understanding of TS

7. Concept of God unites TS with universal mind therefore offers best explanation for a view that is Rational, Coherent, and Meaningful (RCM).

[6]Read more about this argument

Necessity and contingency lie at the base of our modern understanding of cause and effect. They come from scholastic notions of logic, but the distinction between the notion our modern notions of c/e and the scholastic ones in the middle ages is not that great. The scholastic had more levels of cause, efficient cause, final cause and several others. But one could everything we have done in modern science using the scholastic ideas of c/e.

Necessity doesn't mean has to exist. It doesn't mean God is necessary to the existence of the world (except in so far as if God exists then of closure God is necessary to the world as creator--without God there would be no world).The modal argument does not begin with the assumption that God has to exist. It begins with the assumption that there is a valid distinction between necessity and contingency, which there must be.It proceeds along the lines of hypothetical consequence that obtain from different scenarios of God's existence. It concludes that is necessary. But by "necessary" it means not contingent, or not dependent upon something else for its' existence.

This is often misconstrued by atheists and taken to mean the argument proceeds from God's existence as an assumed first premise. This is not the case, the first premise is either/or. Either God's existence is necessary or it is impossible. This allows for the possibility that there is no God. So the argument does not begin by "defining God into existence."

Necessity essentially not contingent, it also coneys the idea of he can;'t cease or fail to exist, stemming from his eternal nature

. Contingent means the opposite: that a thing is dependent upon a prior thing for existence, or that it could cease or fail to exist.

Impossible means logically impossible, something in the structure of the idea contradictions, such as square circles.

one of the sore spots that atheists get stuck on is the idea that God cannot be contingent. They will always leap to the conclusion that this is defining God into existence, because they don't understand the concept of God. God, by the nature of the concept, carriers certain parameters just as the existence of any human assumes humanity, or the existence of any tree assumes that the tree in question is a plant. To have to define that God is not contingent should not even come into it. The idea of God is that of eternal creator of all things. Thus God cannot cease to exits and cannot be dependent upon anything (or he wouldn't be the creator of all things). Atheists usually assume that all knowledge has to be empirical. they will argue this is defining God into existence. maybe God is contingent.


Close to Hartshorne's version

1. God is either necessary or impossible.
2. God can be conceived without contradiction.
3. Whatever can be conceived without contradiction is not impossible.
4. God is not impossible.
5. God's existence is a necessity (from 1-4, not contingent or impossible means necessary)
6. If God is necessary, then God exists.
7. Belief in God's existence is warranted

[7]read more

Argument from laws of nature

The argument:

1) mind is the most efficient and dependable source of ordering we know,

(2) Random ordering is usually inefficient and the odds are against it's dependability.

(3) The Universe Displays a Law-like efficiency and dependability in the workings of it's natural machinations.

(4) Such efficiency and dependability is indicative of mind as ordering principle (from 1,3), therefore, it is logical to assume mind as the best explanation for the dependability of the universe..

(5) A mind that orders the universe fits the major job description for God, Thus mind is the best explanation, assuming the choices are mind vs random chance.

[8]Read all about it


[1]Dana,"How can there be no evidence for god if atheists can't define evidence?"Debate an atheist, 2023,

[2]Student Written Essay, "Samuel Clarkes Cosmological Argument"UKEssay experts 37 August 2021, UKEssays. (November 2018). Samuel Clarkes Cosmological Argument. Retrieved from

[3]Stanford Ecyclopedia of Philosophy, Samuel Clarke, April 2003,

[4] UKEssays.op cit

[5]DebateAnAtheist, op cit




Thursday, June 06, 2024

Answering Richard Carrier: the Gospels are not myth

Image result for giotto's resurrection

Richard Carrier wants us to think the matters written about in the four Gospels are fictional and therefore did not happen. What he is really saying is this: The Gospel writers do not write like modern historians, nor do they write like ancient elite patricians. Since those are the only two groups blessed as academic historians what the gospel writers write is not history, if it is not history then it is a lie. There's another obvious possibility that he's merely pretending doesn't exist but obviously it does. That is partially literate people who were not historians but who nevertheless wrote about true events. He wants us to forget that possibility and to think it is not possible.I will present a few off-the-cuff realizations that occurred to me while listening to his lecture, "Why the Gospels are Myth" [1]

The first thing to note is his use of language. It is designed to divert and conceal. When he uses the term"myth" he means fiction, He's not using the term in the sense I am when I say "the OT uses mythology to push the narrative along," For me mythology is what Joseph Campbell is talking about, the manipulation of symbol to evoke psychological truth. For Carrier "myth" means: "lie." Myth = lie. The real important move here is that "not historical" = myth = lie, He trades on the Campbell sense of myth to make that maneuver, but his final assumption is the crude version of myth which is the old antiquated version. So the fact that these authors are not writing like historians means they are not writing history so they write myth, (lie). All of this is based upon ignoring the obvious, they they were not well educated but were truth tellers.[2]

Carrier defines myth as fiction designed to teach us something. That's a very inadequate definition, It is totally ignorant. It ignores the psychological aspects of myth, Of course he doesn't care he's using the term as a pejorative. The gospels are unique, They are not history per se, They are not written as historical accounts, they are distillation of the teachings in the early Christian communities, the oral tradition. That is not to say they don't depict historical events, but they depict them in such a way as to be analogous to a histrionically based docudrama.

I am guessing here his response to me would probably be that the Gospel authors write like fiction writers of the day. They seem like skilled fiction writers so they weren't just less literate they were highly skilled. One example which he really gives of them writing this way is their filling in gaps in knowledge about dialogue and time. They do this by writing as though everything took place as in a little documentary,[3] Again he's just predicating that upon the assumption that non historian means fiction. Clearly they filled in gaps with poetic licence because they did not have access to transcripts. That does not invalidate the outline as non historical.

Carrier points out that the Gospel writers do not name their sources. This marks them as not historical. It marks them as not historians although even historians of the ancient world did not always name their sources, They did not footnote them. Carrier argues that they don't discuss who the sources were why they trust them, as do historians even in that day. Again all this really means is they are not historians. But not being historians does not equal not being historically true. They don't mark their sources the way conventional historians do because they are distilling the teachings of the communities in whch the testimony was taught. All the Gospel sources go back to the Apostles and whatever witnesses were in that community. There is no point in continually pointing this out when the community knew its sources. That does not mark it as fictional writing.

Another point he makes is that the Gospels are improbable. He lists several earmarks of improbability:

*apostles abandon jobs follow stranger immediately
*Jews need Judas to identify Jesus
*illegal trail execution on high holy day
*Of he off hands supernatural stuff, always important for stoking doubt.

my answers:


abandon jobs follow stranger immediately The authors weren't there when Jesus' first disciples joined him. The descriptions they gave of those events probably made it sound like they followed him immediately. It probably wasn't considered an important point. They probably considered it literary licence.

*Jews need Judas to identify Jesus

The Jews may have needed someone to be sure they had the actual man, With no mass media, no photographs they only had eye witnesses to be sure. Had they only seen him from a distance with a lot people around him they might not have really been certain it was him. I think the real issue is they needed an insider to tell them where he would be at a given time. Otherwise the people have protected him in public.

He says Gospels don't express any incredulity at amazing things like historians do when they tell amazing things. Could that be because the Gospels are merely the writing down of the testimony given the communities, Thus they assumed up front it would be amazing, it was assumed up front it was the testimony of the Apostles.

Carrier lists "Markers of myth"
*meaningful emulation of prior myths
*historical improbabilities are frequent
*no external corroboration[4]

At this point he's describing the Gospels and using that as myth-like writing so it's rather circular in reasoning. He might as well say the first criterion for spotting myth is that it is a Gospel. No external history corroborates the myth. No external sources to corroborate gospels other than his death, No source on any other events.[5] The point that no external sources corroborate the events other than his death is really a misleading argument.

First,he wants to treat the four Gospels as though they all came out together published by Zondervon, in 99AD. There were written Gospels before the four canonical. They go back to around AD 50 (?). The four canonicals are corroborating each other. Three latter corroborate Mark,and Mark and Matt corroborate an earlier group of writings we no longer have.[6]

There are Talmudic references that are connected to Jesus' death but Carrier wanted to exempt that because apart from the death noting is corroborated. The problem they do corroborate things other then the death but in connection with the death because that's what drew attention to Jesus beyond his own continuities. Skeptic Peter Kirby (a talented armature): "This is the Jewish tradition regarding the trial of Jesus, found in the Babylonian Talmud, b. Sanh. 43a. While this text was finalized sometime in the fifth or sixth century, by its nature it incorporates many traditions that are very old, as it collects and quotes traditional commentary of the rabbis."[7]

We see more of this:

Origen quoting Celsus:

Jesus had come from a village in Judea, and was the son of a poor Jewess who gained her living by the work of her own hands. His mother had been turned out of doors by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being convicted of adultery [with a soldier named Panthéra (i.32)]. Being thus driven away by her husband, and wandering about in disgrace, she gave birth to Jesus, a bastard. Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he acquired certain (magical) powers which Egyptians pride themselves on possessing. He returned home highly elated at possessing these powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out to be a god." [8]

This quote is propaganda. Yet when we find overlap with the gospels we can see there is a historical corroboration:

village in Judea
Father was carpenter
Allusion to V birth
Jesus went to Egypt
Identified himself with God

further computational from my own Taplmudic studies;

It seems pretty obvious that the Talmud is discussing Jesus, at least in some instances. That in itself should be enough given the preponderance of evidence to put to rest Jesus mythism. A summary of what the most likely passages say about the one I take to be Jesus of Nazareth makes this clear:

*He was born under unusual circumstances, leading some rabbis to address him as ben Pandira and " a bastard of an adulteress
*mother Mary was Heli's daughter.
*was crucified on the eve of Passover.
* made himself alive by the name of God.
* was a son of a woman. (cf. Galatians 4:4)
* claimed to be God, the son of God, the son of man.
* ascended and claimed that he would return again.
* was near to the kingdom and near to kingship.
* had at least five disciples.
* performed miracles, i.e. practiced "sorcery".
* name has healing power.
*teaching impressed one rabbi

There are lots of sources of Talmudic corroboration, be sure and check out my pages on the mater. [9] Even more impressive are the non canonical Gospels. scholars now have copies of 19 gospels (either complete, in fragments or in quotations), written in the first and second centuries A.D— nine of which were discovered in the 20th century. Two more are preserved, in part, in other writings, and we know the names of several others, but do not have copies of them. Clearly, Luke was not exaggerating when he wrote in his opening verse: "Many undertook to compile narratives [about Jesus]" (Luke 1:1). Every one of these gospels was deemed true and sacred by at least some early Christians.,,Some non canonical gospels are dated roughly to the same period, and the canonical gospels and other early Christian accounts appear to rely on earlier reports.[10]

Carrier ignores the fact of this corroboration, no doubt on the premise that being Christian it is just more of the same, repetition of the same myth, it follows an independent tradition from the Markan redaction, thus making it independent corroboration, The unknown Gospel of Egerton 2 was discovered in Egypt in 1935 exiting in two different manuscripts. The original editors found that the handwriting was that of a type from the late first early second century. In 1946 Goro Mayeda published a dissertation which argues for the independence of the readings from the canonical tradition. This has been debated since then and continues to be debated. Recently John B. Daniels in his Clairmont Dissertation argued for the independence of the readings from canonical sources.[11] Daniels states "Egerton's Account of Jesus healing the leaper Plausibly represents a separate tradition which did not undergo Markan redaction...Compositional choices suggest that...[the author] did not make use of the Gospel of John in canonical form." (Daniels, abstract).[12]

These are corroborating versions because they show different traditions not connected to the canonicals nevertheless with the same material thus supporting the canonical events.


[1]Richard Carrier, "Why the Gospels are Myth" video YouTube (Nov 27, 2017))


[3] Ibid, frame 620

[4] Ibid, frames 640-748

[5]Ibid frame 813

[6] Helmut Koester, Ancient Christian Gospels: Their History and Development, London. Oxford, New York: Bloomsbury T&T Clark; 2nd prt. edition, 1992, 215-218

[7] Hinman,:"Peter Kirby's Straw man "Best Case for Jesus:" Talmudic Evidence." religious a priori website

[8]Origen quoting Celsus, On the True Doctrine, translated by R. Joseph Hoffman, Oxford University Press, 1987, 59

[9] Hinman, "Talmud Connection to Jesus (part 1)" The Religious a priori website (2012)

[10] Charles W. Hendrick, quoted in Bible Review, (June 2002), 20-31; 46-47

[11] John B. Daniels, The Egerton Gospel: It's place in Early Christianity, Dissertation Clairmont, CA 1990. Cited in Helmutt Koester, History and Literature of Early Christianity,second Edition, New York, Berlin: Walter D. Gruyter, 186.

This is from a dissertation cited by major scholar Helmutt KIoester., so apparently Daniels did good work as a graduate student, Koester is New Testamemt Studies at Harvard.

[12] Ibid.

By Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) - January 19, 2020

Sunday, June 02, 2024

How Do We Know the Inspired Parts of the Bible?

People on the net, especially skeptics, ask "what parts of the Bible are inspired and what parts are not?" or "how do we know the inwpired part of the bible?" for the ierrantist this is not a problem, it's all inspired. But since I have advertized the fact that I am not an inerrantist this question becomes more important for me.

The problem parts of the Bible are those passages where God commanded Israel to wipe out the enemy and murder everyone, even the infants. To me God would never do that, those passages are not inspired.

There is a passage which seems to say it's all inspired: 2 Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. Of course Second Timony is one of those parts most scholars now feel were not by Paul. Moreover, God could intend the documents to be included becuse they contain a lot of good, despirte the mistaken injunction to kill children.

Fundamentalists look at the Bible in a certain way and atheists look at it in reaction to the fundamentalist way. The basic assumption is made by both that the text of the Bible is, from the "In the Beginning" of Genesis to the "even so come quickly Lord Jesus" of Revelation as words transmitted from God to the mind of the authors. As though Moses sits down, takes pen in hand and a light shines on him and a voice in his head says (in a booming echo like way) "write write write, this is it...."In the  beginning...." I don't think it works that way. I am willing to understand that when the prophets say "this is what the Lord says" they may be repeating word for word the exact verbiage God gave them to say, although not necessarily. But for most of the Bible I doubt that it works that way. I think people were just using the ideas that came to them as a result of their religious experiences, and as a result they used those concepts and feelings in the different ways that it occurred to them to use such material. They put their ideas of God into the stories and those who had real experiences really captured the nature of God's grace, and those who did not genuinely experience God failed to capture such things.

The real problem is the model. The model of the fundies says that God is writing a memo. The Bible is the word form "the Big man upstairs" and just like an executive writing a memo. Moses is taking dictation. But that model assumes directly handed down verbiage, it's even called "verbal plenary" meaning "all the verbiage is inspired." That's NOT the model I use. I go by a model that views the Bible as a collection of writings which are based upon human encounters with the divine. People experience God in different ways, usually beyond words; to speak about that they must call up from the deep recesses of their spirits (minds) that intangible part that produces art and literature, and they formulate into words their experiences. That means they have to load the experince into cultural constructs.

A cultural construct is an idea that is suggested by culture, by association with other people in society and the symbols and analogies and metaphors that tacitly speak to us at a level we understand but can't necessarily articulate. In the ancient world life was cheap, people were used to thinking in terms of either wiping out the other guy or being wiped out. The ancient Hebrews magnified their culture, but a romanticized view of themselves and their struggles into narrative form and used that framework to express the wordless sense of the numinous that they experienced through contact with God. The tendency to want to wipe out other people, to destroy totally every trace of their existence and lives, is part of the cultural constructs which act as a lens to give words to the writer's deep and hidden senses of God communicated through wordless sensations on the mystical level. So they build into the narrative a bunch of stuff about wiping these guys and those guys but what we need to understand is the major point being made.

For example, in the bit about the Amalekites, I'm pretty sure the bit about the infants is added in latter. I think we see real evdience in the text that it's been tweaked. But the real point is not wipe out the Amalekites nor is it that it's ok for us to wipe our enemies, the real point is to obey God. Saul didn't obey God and the incident was a down fall for him. Now it doesn't matter that the incident is this failure to wipe out the infants, it could have been anything. They wrote it like that. The real point is do whatever God tells you to do. But that God is not going to tell us to wipe out our enemies and destroy their kids is pretty obvious to most of us. We can defend that description well enough to say "God did not command this." We can even put it up to religious experience. My experiences of God tell me God doesn't want this. But why did the author of that part of the Bible (presumably Samuel) think that God did tell him that? Because he's filtering the experience through his cultural constructs

. Now you might ask "but then how can we learn moral truths? Our moral understanding is not static. Our understanding evolves over time. The ancient Hebrews could not understand this was wrong because it was common place in their day. We understand the wrong of it because culture evolves. Jesus understood it was wrong. Jesus did not say "wipe out the Amalekites" he said "turn the other cheek." He even corrected the understanding of the OT generations when he said "you have heard it said an eye, a tooth for a tooth, but I say to you turn the other cheek." With the Bible we do not proof text. We don't determine what to do by one verse. We use the preponderance of the evidence, meaning everything we can understand about the Bible. We don't stop there, we study and understand what others have said about it. We use the words of the saints and the great theologians as precedents and benchmarks to help us interpret. Samuel was not speaking with authority for all time in telling that story. He was merely telling a story he heard some someone and putting down on paper some tradition (probably the real author was writing from Babylon in the exile--that's the most heavily redacted part of the Bible). He was putting into the work his understanding of God from his experiences as well what he had been taught. But the end result is a narrative and like all narratives it only works to accomplish its task when we try to understand it as a narrative and not force it into molds where it doesn't fit such as memo from the boss, military communique, or auto owner's manual.

 We need to understand the bible as literature. It's major function is to bestow grace upon the reader. you read it to be healed to find spiritual edification and to understand God's laws. There are those who think it should be read like an instruction Manuel for a car. They seem to think it's going to tell us every move to make in the same way that the owner's Manual tells us how to change the oil. Since the Bible is a collection of different works written over a long period of time it doesn't make sense to try and fit the whole collection into one model and understand it all in the same way.

We don't have to understand exactly the role of inspiration nor do we need to look for the inspired parts as opposed to the banal parts. What we need to do is understand the overall preponderance of teaching and to weigh in that light what God shows us in our own lives. When we do this grace is bestowed, we are healed, we are drawn closer to God but we do not have to relate to it as if we are reading the instructions to change the oil in the car.

Monday, May 27, 2024

J.L. Schellenberg does not disprove God

J.L. Schellenberg argues that the presence of non-resisting unbelievers disproves God.The basic concept is that if there are such non-resisting non-believers surly God would reveal himself to them because if God is all loving God would want a relationship with them. That they don't find God shows God is probably not there to show them.

So where can we go from there? Well, an argument can be developed for supposing that nonresistant nonbelief would not exist if there were a God. Let me set out the argument as clearly as possible, and then we can discuss its nature and its force.
  1. If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God are in a position to participate in such relationships--i.e., able to do so just by trying to.
  2. No one can be in a position to participate in such relationships without believing that God exists.
  3. If there is a perfectly loving God, all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists (from 1 and 2).
  4. It is not the case that all creatures capable of explicit and positively meaningful relationship with God who have not freely shut themselves off from God believe that God exists: there is nonresistant nonbelief; God is hidden.
  5. It is not the case that there is a perfectly loving God (from 3 and 4).
  6. If God exists, God is perfectly loving.
  7. It is not the case that God exists (from 5 and 6).[1]

He draws analogy to human relationships. After all what other means do we have to understand love but our relationships with those we love?
I am suggesting is that there is something remarkably odd about the idea that, supposing there really is a God whose love is unsurpassed perfect, such creatures should ever be unable to exercise their capacity for relationship with God--at least so long as they have not got themselves into that position through resisting the divine in the manner earlier indicated. What sense can we make of the idea that capable creatures should be open to relationship with a perfectly loving God, not resisting it at all, perhaps even longing for it, and yet not in a place where they can have such a relationship, if there really is a perfectly loving God? I suggest that if we look carefully at the matter, we will not be able to make any sense of that at all. A perfectly loving God--if those words mean anything--would, like the best human lover, ensure that meaningful contact with herself was always possible for those she loved.
Notice how our everyday use of the language of love pushes us in this direction. The perfectly loving mother or husband or brother or friend will see to it that nothing he or she does ever puts relationship out of reach for the loved one.

I have three basic arguments, but first I am going to grant that there are non resisting unbelievers. I don't really believe there are and I don't believe it can be proved. He has no crystal ball we cannot look upon the heart as God does. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Rationalizing what we do and our own nobility is one of the things Humans do best. Making such an argument is perhaps an act of resisting in and of itself. Yet I will grant for the sake of argument and take on the argument on it's own terms. Toward that end grant for argument sake there are non resisting unbelievers, I still have three responses:

(1) Human relationships are only analogy

Through our own experience  loving and being loved we have a notion of what love is. Yet we do not have a perfect notion, we have no example of perfect love save that of Christ dying on the cross. Humans do not love each other perfectly. Some times human love is standoffish we don't always act on our feelings for others. In that sense we might conclude  that God doesn't care, but that's only because we are comparing God's love to imperfect human love. The comparison of God's love to human love is only a metaphor anyway. There is no 1x1 correspondence to the effect that's God's agape should be perfectly analogous to human philos.

Human relationships are only analogous to God's love, all analogy has a"not-like" was well as a "like" dimension. Jesus himself provides the perfect role model for God's love. Using Jesus as the model God.s love is not always self explanatory. I'll deal with the issue of God's hidden presence in point three. But for now suffice to say God's love is not always obvious, that doesn't mean it is occulted or absent.

(2) Either the non resisting phase, or the non believing phase, may be temporary. 

Assuming that there are unresistant unbelievers, that does't mean they stay that way There can be times in a person's life when they are non resisting and open to God but don't find the signs stacking up in such a way that that they would find God.There will come a point at which they will either find God or begin to resist. Which to say they found God but for some reason don't want to find God. The factors in tracing that out would be enormously complex, they would different from case to case. Trying to pin down an exact profile of belief would be like profiling snowflakes. Because this argument does involve soteriological issues it takes us into point 3. But before going there I have to deal with one other issue.

The temporal answer is only a stopgap solution. The skeptic can still raise the point why doesn't God make his move, so to speak, in that short time when the unbeliever is open and not resisting? To say that the non believer begins resisting at that point is really a problem because that would indicate that he wasn't open after all. But to answer that we should have to know the complex variables that make for decision making in this area, we can't really know that. Given that caveat I think Jesus gave us a hint in the parable of the sower (Mark 4: 1-19).

The seed is the world and the type of soil or other problems that prevent the seed taking root represent things that can happen that might separate one from belief. Those include symbols for riches and cares of they world for example. None of these people are throwing away the seeds,so in that sense they are non resisters.  The seeds are taken by weeds, thrones, birds. The seeds are spread and fall where they may, then they are intercepted or negated in some way, now of course question arises why does God not prevent this? Surely if Love of God means anything he should get through to those who are not resisting him, even if the message is negated. I think he does, that is a theological issue and thus leads us to point three.

(3) God's love is not hidden but it is prehended

This point breaks down into three major issues all three of them theological. These are prhension,  salvation and theodicy, It's a theological issue because it draws upon core of theology proper, faith seeking understanding (in the classical model). The prehension issue deals with the nature of our understanding of God and it answers P2 in Shallenberg's argumemt: No one can be in a position to participate in such relationships without believing that God exists. That depends upon what relationship we are talking about. No one is going to be a great lion of God and not know it, One will not be Kierkegaard's knight of faith and not know it. One might be saved and not know it,one is being communicated to by 'God and most people don't  know it,. God is communicating through prehension: 

a. prehension

Through Whitehead's category of prehension, the nonsensory sympathetic perception of antecedent experiences, we are able to reduce several apparently very different types of relations to one fundamental type of relation. [It] explains not only memory and perception, . . . but also temporality, space, causality, enduring individuality (or substance), the mind-body relation, the subject-object relation in general, and the God-world relation. [2]
But this is at an unconscious level. However, in some people, this direct prehension of the "Holy" rises to the level of conscious experience. We generally call theses people "mystics". Now, the reason why a few people are conscious of God is not the result of God violating causal principle; some people are just able to conform to God's initial datum in greater degree than other people can. I don't kno why God seems to chose to make his presence known to some and not others But I accept that the basis of mystical experience is real,discernible, noetic and from God. I do think God is putting this out to everyone and some have a greater capacity for receiving it than others, In place of resisting God I find a lot of people want their own way, they want God to do it their way, to that extent they are not content with God's choices for them.That amounts to resisting while not resisting per se.
The experience of no one single witness is final the "the proof" but the fact that there are millions of witnesses who, in differing levels from the generally intuitive to the mystical, experience must the same thing in terms of general religious belief the argument is simply that God interacts on a human heart level, and the experiences of those who witness such interaction is strong evidence for that conclusion.

b. Salvation

If God is always speaking to us all why are we not all Christians? Because we are getting it at an instinctive or subliminal level and to understand it we have to formulate ideas based upon the impressions. Ideas have to be formed in language and thus they must be filtered through cultural constructs. That's why faiths appear so different. That's why they  reflect their cultures. Jesus was not a cultural construct he was a real guy with a history so he was the person he was and he was adapted to the culture of his day.

Christians believe that Jesus is necessary to salvation,I believe this. But it is not necessarily the case that one must know this to be saved. If one is saved it is Jesus who does the saving. it is not necessarily the case that only people who know this are saved. Since this is a theological issue we turn to the theology of St. Paul for an answer. On Mars Hill he told the Greek philosophers they knew God. He told them he came to proclaim to them what they already knew.
26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[a] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[3]
Of course we laugh at the primitive naivete of this statement.There is a deeper meaning under there, that God is interacting with people of all cultures and that different cultures are not boundaries for belief but that God is Interconnecting with each one. God is near to us all he's drawing us all. Are all saved? Paul indicates that all have the moral law written upon the heart and if we are true to that moral law we may be saved:

God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”[a]To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile;10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
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. 13 For 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.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.[4]
This is not an argument that one can cease seeking or that we don't need Jesus. Jesus is truth we should keep the whole truth, We don't need to feel that those not in the Christian club are necessarily going to t to hell. The good news is we can turn to Jesus and know God this is not negated by the bad news that 60% of the world is going to hell.[5]

c. theodisy 

But then why does the truth of God seem so not obvious? It's not hidden but it's  not conspicuous.If God wished to get everyone signed up he could hold a press conference the UN building and tell the world. Obviousness there is meant to be a level of seeking.

Let's assume that God's purpose in creation is to create a Moral Universe, that is one in which free moral agents willingly choose the Good. Moral choice requires absolutely that choice be free (thus free will is necessitated). Allowance of free choices requires the risk that the chooser will make evil choices.  The possibility of evil choices is a risk God must run, thus the value of free will outweighs all other considerations, since without it there would be no moral universe and the purpose of creation would be thwarted.This leaves the atheist in the position of demanding to know why God doesn't just tell everyone that he's there, and that he requires moral behavior, and what that entails. Thus there would be no mystery and people would be much less inclined to sin.This is the point where Soteriological Drama figures into it. Argument on Soteriological Drama: No one would seek in the heart. If God was obvious in this way we would all give lip service to it and resent it. Only through searching that one internalizes the values of the search and thus loves having found. Jesus said "he who has been forgiven much loves much."

Life is a "Drama" not for the sake of entertainment, but in the sense that a dramatic tension exists between our ordinary observations of life on a daily basis, and the ultimate goals, ends and purposes for which we are on this earth.Clearly God wants us to seek on a level other than the obvious, daily, demonstrative level or he would have made the situation more plain to us. We can assume that the reason for the "big mystery" is the internalization of choices. If God appeared to the world in open objective fashion and laid down the rules, we would probably all try to follow them, but we would not want to follow them. Thus our obedience would be lip service and not from the heart. Therefore, God wants a heart felt response which is internationalized value system that comes through the search for existential answers; that search is phenomenological; introspective, internal, not amenable to ordinary demonstrative evidence.

This explains why God is not obvious even though he's not exactly hidden. No one who is seeking and not resisting is turned out or condemned even if they don't wind up in the Christian club.

Schallenberg makes a big thing out of hidden evidence. But why would God hide evidence? He did not! It's there for anyone who is willing to experience it. Speaking of that my books shows you the extend of religious experience and how it changes your life, it;s obvious that the experience is there waiting to be experienced for those who seek,

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[1] J.L. Schellenberg, "What Divine Hiddenness Reveals, or How Weak Theistic Evidence is Strong Atheistic Proof," The Secular Web  (2008) on line resource, URL:  acessed 6/20/16

[2] David Ray Griffin, "Charles Hartshorne," in David Ray Griffin, John B. Cobb, Jr., Marcus P. Ford, Pete A. Y. Gunter, and Peter Ochs, Founders of Constructive Postmodern Philosophy: Peirce, James, Bergson, Whitehead, and Hartshorne (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993), p. 209. Griffin's writing in this book is quoted extensively in"Charles Hartshorne's Psychicalism".


[3] New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 byBiblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Read my essay "Why I don't beleive in Hell"

original Jan 1 2022