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,

 photo frontcover-v3a_zps9ebf811c.jpg

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Ground breaking research that boosts religious arguemnts for God to a much stronger level. It makes experience arguments some of the most formidable.Empirical scientific studies demonstrate belief in God is rational, good for you, not the result of emotional instability. Ready answer for anyone who claims that belief in God is psychologically bad for you. Order from Amazon 


[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

Monday, May 20, 2024

The Feeling of Absolute Dependence

Frederich Schleiermacher, (1768-1834) in On Religion: Speeches to it's Cultured Despisers, and the Christian Faith. (aka The Glaubenslehre) sets forth the view that religion is not reducible to knowledge or ethical systems. It is primarily a phenomenological apprehension of God consciousness through means of religious affections. Affections is a term not used much anymore, and it is easily confused with mere emotion. Sometimes Schleiermacher is understood as saying that "I become emotional when I pray and thus there must be an object of my emotional feelings." Though he does venture close to this position in one form of the argument, this is not exactly what he's saying. In the earlier form of his argument he was saying that affections were indicative of a sense of God, but in the Christian Faith he argues that there is a greater sense of unity in the life world and a sense of the dependence of all things in the life world upon something higher.

What is this feeling of utter dependence? It is the sense of the unity in the life world and its greater reliance upon a higher reality. It is not to be confused with the starry-sky-at-night-in-the-desert feeling, but is akin to it. This phrase “unity in the life world” is important and will be explored latter. An example of the “feeling of utter dependence,” I used to notice a certain kind of feeling when I would sit in my back yard by the garden late at night. I could hear the sounds of the freeway in the distance, and on a clear summer night smell the sage I grew and watch the stars. It all seemed to be a great harmony of purpose. It was all unified. There seemed to be some higher sense of unification upon which it all hung. That's just a short hand for those of us to whom this is a new concept to get some sort of handle on it.

Nor does "feeling" here mean "emotion" but it is connected to the religious affections. In the early version Schleiermacher thought it was a correlate between the religious affections and God; God must be there because I can feel love for him when I pray to him. But that's not what it's saying in the better version. Many people understand this feeling, or “God consciousness” as a reaction of the romantic rebellion against enlightenment rationalism. “Influenced by romanticism and his own early exposure to Moravian Pietism…the feeling…is the heart of the religious defined at the deepest level of self consciousness and awareness in contrast to the enlightenment preoccupation with beliefs and morals.”[1] There’s more to this than just a romantic rebellion. Schleiermacher rebels against Kant. For Schlieiermacher there is no Kantian dualism but an underlying unity and foundation of both knowledge and action. He battles Kant on two fronts, the account of consciousness and the account of God and experience. For Schleiermacher, consciousness is not simply non cognitive as with Kant but is immediate, original pre theoretical consciousness of reality. Feeling is part of consciousness so one is not just having random emotional states when having feelings, but a form of consciousness that is an immediate experience of reality. This experience is also pre-theoretical meaning its prior to thinking about. It’s a experience of reality before we reflect and do a bunch of philosophizing about the nature of reality. [2] “Knowing and doing are more determinate, circumscribed and mediated modes of consciousness, which presuppose feeling or immediate self consciousness.”[3]

The reason this phrase “knowing and doing” or “knowledge and action” keep popping up is because prior to Schleiemracher and with Kant religion was reduced to being thought a jumped up form of ethics, or an ethical form of philosophy. Kant recommends the use of God in practical reason as a means of regulating ethical practice.[4]

Unlike Kant and with Husserl Schleiermacher believes that theoretical cognition is logically founded upon pretheoretical intersubjective consciousness and its life world. The latter cannot be dismissed as non-cognitive, for if the life world praxis is non-cognitive and invalid, so is theoretical cognition. Schleiermacher contends that religious belief in God is pretheoretical: it is not the result of proofs and demonstrations, but is conditioned solely by the religious modification of feeling, namely the feeling of utter dependence. Belief in God is not acquired though intellectual acts of which the traditional proofs of God are examples, but rather from the thing itself, the object of religious experience. If, as Schleiermacher says, God is given to feeling in an original way, this means that the feeling of utter dependence is in some sense an appreciation of divine being and reality.This is not meant as a Barthian fideism or an appeal to revelation but as a…religious a prori[5]

In other words, this is the “realization of the reality of God.” This concept of the life world has come up again. The feeling is said to be (above) a reflection of unity in the life world.

Unity in the Life world

"Life world," or Lebenswelt is a term used in German philosophy. It implies the world of one's culturally constructed life, the "world" we 'live in;’ this is life as we experience it on a daily basis. The unity one senses in the life world is intuitive and unites the experiences and aspirations of the individual in a sense of integration and belonging in the world. This is what Heidegger is talking about when he says "a being in the world." Schleiermacher is saying that there is a special intuitive sense that everyone can grasp of this whole, this unity, being bound up with a higher reality, being dependent upon a higher unity. In other words, the "feeling" can be understood as an intuitive sense of "radical contingency." The life world is an inter-subjective socio-cultural world the existence of which we take for granted.[6] Since it is “subject relative” it can be given in intuition at least in principle. Yet It is not only subjective, but also inter-subjective, meaning something that is in principle subjective but not just subjective and, therefore, dismissed as either unimportant or impossible to understand, but is understood, albeit subjectively by others uniformly and somewhat universally and the sheer commonalty of the experience transcends the subjective nature. It’s like the way we all just know what it means to say “you had to be there, “ yet we can’t really put into words why being there would make a difference.

Moreover, the life-world consists of general features that are more than subjective.[7] On the one hand the life world is the “correlate of transcendental consciousness in the sense that belief in the life world is the transcendental condition of possible experience. On the other hand the life-world is experienced as a determinate social and cultural world.”[8] Thus the life-world can be approach from either a phenomenological perspective or a concrete social perspective rooted in the social sciences.

Schleiermacher’s Implied Ontological Argument

As with the Tillich-implied OA, Schleiermacher did not say “this is an ontological argument.” Williams points that it is one, however, it is so by virtue of the correlation between the feeling and it’s object, or the co-determinate. The correlation (think about Tillich’s theological method) is presupposed by the immanent in “historically determinate religious experience.” At the base of the correlation is Shcleiermacher’s ontological approach to the question of God.[9] For Schleiemracher revelation and personal disclosure are part of God’s’ nature. “He accepts the ontological principle that God is the presupposition of the idea of God, and believes that the idea can be identified with nothing less than transcendent non mundane whence of utter dependence "…Schleiermacher,” says Williams, “presents a pre theoretical reflective version of the ontological argument.”[10] He adds that God is more than religious consciousness and a doctrine of God can be constructed, not merely a postulation as with Kant or Feuerbach. What he means is that Kant appealed to the concept of God as a regulation for ethics, and Feuerbach argued that God was just a construct designed to mask the true interest of society, money. Williams is saying that Schlemeriamcher believed God’s self revelation in the feeling of utter dependence is indicative of an actual God not just a theoretical reference point.

The ontological principle, God is the presupposition to the idea of God, what does this mean? Whitehead explained it this way:

That every condition to which the process of becoming conforms in any particular instance has its reason either in the character of some actual entity in the actual world of that concrescence, or in the character of the subject which is in the process of concrescence. This category of explanation is termed the ‘ontolgoical principle’…[11]

In other words the idea of God is such that God must really exist in order for the idea to make sense. If the idea doesn’t make sense then why is it that it does make sense in terms of it’s correlation to actual experience? In the early crude form of the argument he was saying things like “I feel love for God so there must be a God for me to love.” That’s because he saw feelings as disclosures rather than self deceptions of useless wastes of energy. It can also be compared with the principle of sufficient reason. Putting it in Tillich’s terms if we sense the reality of being as eternal, infinite and necessary and our place in being as contingent upon this infinite reality, then this is the correlation of our experience to God. We are realizing the reality of God in the realization of our place in being which comes to us from an understanding that the experience of the divine is correlation between God’s discourse and our realization. Williams links it to the Ontological Argument. Schleiermacher is sensing intuitively before he thinks about it what Anslem came to conclude in his reflection upon the fool. Williams is quoted above as saying “presents a pre theoretical reflective version of the ontological argument.” In other words before its thought about and formulated into a theoretical argument it’s a realization or an experience of the divine in raw reality, unformed and unedited. With this in mind I propose that this is really what Anselm thought of, but without the language of phenomenology he had to settle for putting it into theoretical terms.

There's also a corrolate with the cosmological argument, since the feeling is actually a sense of the contingency of the life-world upon a higher reality. The feeling is not proof of God's existence but a rational warrant for belief since it validates both CA and OA.


[1] Adrian Hastings, Alistair Mason, Hugh S. Pyper. The Oxford Companion to Christian Though:Intellectual, Spiritual and Moral Horizons of Christianity, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2000, 483 (on line page number). On line copy search this site:
orugnal URL:

visited 4/17/11.May 18/ 24

[2] Robert R. Williams, Schleiermacher The Theologian: Construction of the Doctrine of God, Philadelphia: Fortes Press, 1978, 5.

[3] Ibid. 4

[4] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Kant’s Philosophy of Religion, First published Tue Jun 22, 2004; substantive revision Fri Jul 31, 2009. Copy Right Philip Rossi. online version URL: visited 4/19/11.

[5] Williams, ibid, 4

[6] Ibid, 31

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid 4

[10] Ibid, 5

[11] Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality, an Essay in Cosmology. New York: The Free Press Corrected Edidition, ed David Ray Griffin Donald W. Shureburne, 19878, 24

Posted by Joseph Hinman (Metacrock) at 12:50 PM No comments: Labels: apologetics, feeling of utter dependence, God arguments, Paul Tillich's implied Ontologcial Argument, philosophy, Schleiermacher

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Trump was bad for the economy

DNC Trump left office with the worst jobs numbers of any president since the Great Depression. Fortune: “Trump to leave office with the worst jobs record since Herbert Hoover” Washington Post: “President Trump took office at the crest of the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. He leaves presiding over the worst labor market in modern U.S. history, as an already-sputtering economic recovery has turned negative.” Under Trump’s watch, health care costs increased. Center for American Progress: “During his 2016 campaign, President Donald Trump repeatedly said he was for ‘insurance for everybody’ and promised to ‘take care of everybody’ and to lower costs. Almost four years later, the Trump administration’s record falls far short of these promises: The number of uninsured Americans has swelled, his administration has chipped away at the consumer protections guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), costs have risen for Americans with marketplace plans, and the nation is mired in a public health crisis.” Trump let hardworking American families suffer while rigging the economy for big corporations and the ultra-wealthy, causing the national debt to balloon by HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars. Forbes: “Trump Tax Cuts Helped Billionaires Pay Less Taxes Than The Working Class In 2018” CBS News: “Two years after Trump tax cuts, middle-class Americans are falling behind” NPR: “After 2 Years, Trump Tax Cuts Have Failed To Deliver On GOP’s Promises” The Guardian: “They were billed as a ‘middle-class miracle’ but according to a new book Donald Trump’s $1.5tn tax cuts have helped billionaires pay a lower rate than the working class for the first time in history.” New York Times Opinion: “President Trump’s 2017 tax cut, which was largely a handout to the rich … helped push the tax rate on the 400 wealthiest households below the rates for almost everyone else.” Washington Post Analysis: “One of President Donald Trump’s lesser-known but profoundly damaging legacies will be the explosive rise in the national debt that occurred on his watch. The financial burden that he’s inflicted on our government will wreak havoc for decades, saddling our kids and grandkids with debt. The national debt has risen by almost $7.8 trillion during Trump’s time in office.” Although Trump made endless promises to stop offshoring, his tax law created new incentives for companies to ship jobs overseas and left American workers behind. Washington Post: “Trump promised ‘America First’ would keep jobs here. But the tax plan might push them overseas.” Reuters: “Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency four years ago, in part, by a promise to Midwest factory workers that he would stop companies like Schneider Electric SE from moving jobs out of the country. He didn’t stop them.” Bloomberg: “The Offshoring of U.S. Jobs Increased on Trump’s Watch” Trump started a reckless trade war that hurt the American manufacturing industry. CNN: “Trump promised to win the trade war with China. He failed” Time: “Trump’s Trade War Is Costing Americans $3 Billion a Month in Higher Taxes, Study Says” PIIE: “China bought none of the extra $200 billion of US exports in Trump’s trade deal” Wall Street Journal: “China Trade War Didn’t Boost U.S. Manufacturing Might” MEANWHILE, Bidenomics is delivering for American families to the tune of millions of new jobs. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: President Biden helped create over 8 million more jobs in his first 30 full months in office than Trump did. President Biden is leading a domestic manufacturing boom nationwide — bringing hundreds of thousands of factory jobs back home from overseas. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: President Biden helped create 790,000 manufacturing jobs during his first 30 full months in office, more than the 460,000 created under Trump in the comparable time period. Americans are getting back to work thanks to President Biden — labor force participation increased after Trump left office and prime working age labor force participation under President Biden is higher than at any point in Trump’s presidency.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

God and Things we can see

Here is a recent statement on a blog by an atheist that well illustrates a major attitude of skepticism and new atheists that one encounters all over the net.

Roger Higman:

But God is a figment of your imagination. S/he can't be seen,heard or sensed in any way and all claims for what s/he thinks or says are just figments of the imagination of other people. At least science is based on things we can all see, hear, smell and taste.[1]

He must mean things like sub atomic strings, dark matter, quarks, nuetrinos,the big bang, and other things we clearly see and smell every day? As for figments of imagination I demonstrated in The Trace of God that 200 peer reviewed studies in journal articles demonstrate that mystical experince is good for you and that it is a valid experiece of something that is being experienced with the same qualia by people from all faiths all over the world.[2] Thus it seems God has more of a basis in empirical evidence than do subatomic particles.

Here is Part of an article I wrote for this blog back in 2020,"Can Science really Prove The Basis of Modern Physics?" (JULY 13, 2020):

Are there realms beyond the natural? Of course there can be no direct evidence, even a direct look at them would stand apart from our received version of reality and thus be suspect. The plaintive cry of the materialists that “there is no evidence for the supernatural” is fallacious to the core. How can there be evidence when any evidence that might be would automatically be suspect? Moreover, science itself gives us reason to think there might be. Quantum physics is about unseen realms, but they are the world of the extremely tiny. This is the fundamental basis of reality, what’s beneath or behind everything. They talk about “particles” but in reality they are not particles. They are not bits of stuff. They are not solid matter.[3] Treating particles as points is also problematic. This is where string theory comes in. This is where string theory comes in. In string theory fundamental particles aren't treated as zero-dimensional points. Instead they are one-dimensional vibrating strings or loops. The maths is hair-raising, and the direct evidence non-existent, but it does provide a way out of the current theoretical cul-de-sac. It even provides a route to unifying gravity with the other three fundamental forces - a problem which has baffled the best brains for decades. The problem is, you need to invoke extra dimensions to make the equations work in string-theory and its variants: 10 spacetime dimensions to be precise. Or 11 (M-theory). Or maybe 26. In any case, loads more dimensions than four.

So where are they then? One idea is that they are right under our noses, but compacted to the quantum scale so that they are imperceptible. "Hang on a minute", you might think,"How can you ever prove the existence of something that, by definition, is impossible to perceive?" It's a fair point, and there are scientists who criticize string theory for its weak predictive power and testability. Leaving that to one side, how can you conceptualize extra dimensions?[4] There is no direct evidence of these unseen realms and they may be unprovable. Why are they assumed with such confidence and yet reductionists make the opposite assumption about spiritual realms? It’s not because the quantum universe realms are tangible or solid or material they are not. Scientists can’t really describe what they are, except that they are mathematical. In fact why can’t they be the same realms?

Then there’s the concept of the multiverse. This is not subatomic in size but beyond our space/time continuum. These would be other universes perhaps like our own, certainly the size of our own, but beyond our realm of space/time. Some scientists accept the idea that the same rules would apply in all of these universes, but some don’t.

Beyond it [our cosmic visual horizon—42 billion light years] could be many—even infinitely many—domains much like the one we see. Each has a different initial distribution of matter, but the same laws of physics operate in all. Nearly all cosmologists today (including me) accept this type of multiverse, which Max Tegmark calls “level 1.” Yet some go further. They suggest completely different kinds of universes, with different physics, different histories, maybe different numbers of spatial dimensions. Most will be sterile, although some will be teeming with life. A chief proponent of this “level 2” multiverse is Alexander Vilenkin, who paints a dramatic picture of an infinite set of universes with an infinite number of galaxies, an infinite number of planets and an infinite number of people with your name who are reading this article.[5]
Well there are two important things to note here. First, that neither string theory nor multiverse may ever be proved empirically. There’s a professor at Columbia named Peter Woit who writes the blog Not Even Wrong dedicated to showing that string theory can’t be proved.[6] There is no proof for it or against it. It can’t be disproved so it can’t be proved either.[7] That means the idea will be around for a long time because without disproving it they can’t get rid of it. Yet without any means of disproving it, it can’t be deemed a scientific fact. Remember it’s not about proving things, it's about disproving them. Yet science is willing to consider their possibility and takes them quite seriously. There is no empirical evidence of these things. They posit the dimensions purely as a mathematical solution so the equations work not because they have any real evidence.[8]

We could make the argument that we have several possibilities for other worlds and those possibilities suggest more: we have the idea of being “outside time.” There’s no proof that this is a place one can actually go to, but the idea of it suggests the possibility, there’s the world of antimatter, there are worlds in string membranes, and there are other dimensions tucked away and folded into our own. In terms of the multiverse scientists might argue that they conceive of these as “naturalistic.” They would be like our world with physical laws and hard material substances and physical things. As we have seen there are those who go further and postulate the “rules change” idea. We probably should assume the rules work the same way because its all we know. We do assume this in making God arguments such as the cosmological argument. Yet the possibility exists that there could be other realms that are not physical and not “natural” as we know that concept. The probability of that increases when we realize that these realms are beyond our space/time thus they are beyond the domain of our cause and effect, and we know as “natural.” It really all goes back to the philosophical and ideological assumption about rules. There is no way to prove it either way. Ruling out the possibility of a spiritual realm based upon the fact that we don’t live in it would be stupid. The idea that “we never see any proof of it” is basically the same thing as saying “we don’t live it so it must not exist.” Of course this field is going to be suspect, and who can blame the critics? Anyone with a penchant for the unknown can set up shop and speculate about what might be “out there.” Yet science itself offers the possibility in the form of modern physics, the only rationale for closing that off is the distaste for religion.

All that is solid melts into air

This line by Marx deals with society, social and political institutions, but in thinking about the topic of SN it suggests a very different issue. The reductionist/materialists and phsyicalists assume and often argue that there is no proof of anything not material and not ' ‘physical” (energy is a form of matter).  The hard tangible nature of the physical is taken as the standard for reality while the notion of something beyond our ability to dietetic is seen in a skeptical way, even though the major developments in physics are based upon it. Is the physical world as tangible and solid as we think? Science talks about “particles” and constructs models of atoms made of wooden tubes and little balls this gives us the psychological impression that the world of the very tiny is based upon little solid balls. In reality subatomic particles are not made out of little balls, nor are these ‘particles” tangible or solid. In fact we could make a strong argument that no one even knows what they are made of.

We keep talking about "particles", but this word doesn't adequately sum up the type of matter that particle physicists deal with. In physics, particles aren't usually tiny bits of stuff. When you start talking about fundamental particles like quarks that have a volume of zero, or virtual particles that have no volume and pop in and out of existence just like that, it is stretching the everyday meaning of the word "particle" a bit far. Thinking about particles as points sooner or later leads the equations up a blind alley. Understanding what is happening at the smallest scale of matter needs a new vocabulary, new maths, and very possibly new dimensions. This is where string theory comes in. In string theory fundamental particles aren't treated as zero-dimensional points. Instead they are one-dimensional vibrating strings or loops. The maths is hair-raising, and the direct evidence non-existent, but it does provide a way out of the current theoretical cul-de-sac. It even provides a route to unifying gravity with the other three fundamental forces - a problem which has baffled the best brains for decades. The problem is, you need to invoke extra dimensions to make the equations work in string-theory and its variants: 10 spacetime dimensions to be precise. Or 11 (M-theory). Or maybe 26. In any case, loads more dimensions than 4.[9]
Particles are not solid; they are not very tiny chunks of solid stuff. They have no volume nor do they have the kind of stable existence we do. They “pop” in and out of existence! This is not proof for the supernatural. It might imply that the seeming solidity of “reality” is illusory. There are two kinds of subatomic particles, elementary and composite. Composites are made out of smaller particles. Now we hear it said that elementary particles are not made out of other particles. It’s substructure is unknown. They may or may not be made of smaller particles. That means we really don’t know what subatomic particles are made of. That means scientists are willing to believe in things they don’t understand.[10] While it is not definite enough to prove anything except that we don’t know the basis of reality, it does prove that and also the possibilities for the ultimate truth of this are still wide open. To rule out “the supernatural '' (by the wrong concept) on the assumption that we have no scientific proof of it is utterly arrogance and bombast. For all we know what we take to be solid unshakable reality might be nothing more than God’s day dream. Granted, there is end to the spinning of moon beams and we can talk all day about what ‘might be,’ so we need evidence and arguments to warrant the placing of confidence in propositions. We have confidence in placing evidence; it doesn’t have to be scientific although some of it is. That will come in the next chapter. The point here is that there is no basis for the snide dismissal of concepts such as supernatural and supernature.


[1]"The God Cpnsclusion,"Facebook, No date given.¬if_id=1660685142035948¬if_t=feed_comment_reply&ref=notif

[2]Joseph Hinman, The Trace of God: Rational Warrant for Belief, 2014,' On Amazon: In this, my first book, I discuss a body of scientific work in psychology (200 studies going back to the 1960s The jist of these studes is that relgioius experomce is an experience of something real.Although we cant [rove that God is the thimg experoence thyatis the best explaination.

[3] “are there other dimensions,” Large Hadron Collider. Website. Science and Facilities Council, 2012 URL:

[4] Ibid.

[5] George F.R. Ellis. “Does the Miltiverse Really Exist [preview]” Scientific American (July 19, 2011) On line version URL: George F.R. Ellis is Professor Emeritus in Mathematics at University of Cape Town. He’s been professor of Cosmic Physics at SISSA (Trieste)

[6] Peter Woit, Not Even Wrong, Posted on September 18, 2012 by woi blog, URL:

[7] ibid, “Welcome to the Multiverse,” Posted on May 21, 2012 by woit URL:

[8] Mohsen Kermanshahi. Universal Theory. “String Theory.” Website URL:

[9] STFC ibid, op cit. [10] Giorgio Giacomelli; Maurizio Spurio Particles and Fundamental Interactions: An Introduction to Particle Physics (2nd ed.). Italy: Springer-Verlag, science and Business media, 2009, pp. 1–3.


Joseph Hinman's new book is God, Science and Ideology. Hinman argues that atheists and skeptics who use science as a barrier to belief in God are not basing doubt on science itself but upon an ideology that adherer's to science in certain instances. This ideology, "scientism," assumes that science is the only valid form of knowledge and rules out religious belief. Hinman argues that science is neutral with respect to belief in God … In this book Hinman with atheist positions on topics such as consciousness and the nature of knowledge, puts to rest to arguments of Lawrence M. Krauss, Victor J. Stenger, and Richard Dawkins, and delimits the areas for potential God arguments.

Friday, May 03, 2024

Answering Carrier's "Why Did Mark Invent an Empty Tomb?"

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Giotto's Resurrection

If we exclude devotional and analytical literature (e.g. apologies, commentaries, instructionals, hymnals) and only focus on purported “primary source documents” relating to earliest Christianity, we find that most Christian faith literature in its first three centuries is fabricated—indeed, most by far (the quantity of agreed Christian fabrication, including hundreds of “Epistles” and dozens of “Gospels” and half a dozen “Acts” is staggering: see Element 44 in Chapter 5 of Historicity)[1]
The problem is he actually has no evidence to support this view. What he passes off as evidence is ideological assertion. He produces no documentary proof. He has no other version of a biblical document with major changes in the story.He has no version of Mark, no empty tomb. So he tries to turn presumption around and make the assumption of originality and truth content suspect. He does this by his assertion that the vast majority of Biblical work is made up, thus we can't assume on faith any is true. It has to be proven but it can't be proven.

So we need good reason to trust any particular example is not more of the same.[made up] And yet there simply is no evidence any part of Mark’s empty tomb story preceded his publication of it a lifetime after the religion began, in a foreign land and language, vetted by no one so far as we can honestly tell. It beggars belief any rational person would think otherwise.[2]
He tells us that there is no evidence that any prt of the empty story preceded Mark. Readers of this blog know that last week I proved that wrong.[3] Rather scholars such as Helmut Koester proved him wrong. As Koster tells us: "Studies of the passion narrative have shown that all gospels were dependent upon one and the same basic account of the suffering, crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus. But this account ended with the discovery of the empty tomb."[4]

But Carrier seems blissfully unaware. He continues to insist that he has, not just a dearth of counter evidence, but positive proof of his claim:

And yet it’s worse than that even. We actually have evidence that Mark fabricated the story; not just a complete lack of evidence that he didn’t. Finding a tomb empty is conspicuously absent from Paul’s account of how the resurrection came to be believed (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). And of course Mark himself gives us a clue that he is fabricating when he conveniently lets slip that no one witness to it ever reported it—evidently, “until now” (see Mark 16:1-8). Always grounds for suspicion.
His evidence of fabrication is Paul's lack of discussion of the empty tomb. This is twisted and dishonest. If Paul doesn;t mention the empty tomb they didn't have one and thus Mark made it up.Of course he's asserting that Paul did not believe in bodily resurrection. There are those who say he did: "To be sure, a number of scholars, such as Richard Hays, N. T. Wright, and Anthony Thiselton, argue that Paul’s conception of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, in continuity with the  Gospels and  Acts, involves the resurrection (and glorious transformation to imperishability) of the once-dead body of flesh and bones from the tomb"[5] Paul did not discuss the empty tomb but he clearly believed in Jesus' bodily resurrection, It could be that the empty tomb was not used by Paul as an apologetic tool because gentiles he lived among didn't know enough about the resurrection they didn't need that kind of  physical proof. That is just my surmise. At any rate no discussion of empty tomb is no evidence that Mark invented it.

He asserts that Mark says no one reported the empty tomb before him, "Mark himself gives us a clue that he is fabricating when he conveniently lets slip that no one witness to it ever reported it—evidently, 'until now.'" He makes it sound like Mark is saying no one every reported the empty tomb before him. He's only talking about the women (V8). We already know Mark was not the first to speak of the empty tomb as discussed above.

But Matthew’s stated excuse for introducing guards into the story of the empty tomb narrative reveals a rhetoric that apparently only appeared after the publication of Mark’s account of an empty tomb, and this exposes the whole tale as an invention. For Mark shows no awareness of the problem Matthew was trying to solve (and with yet further fabrication—in his case borrowing ideas for this from the book of Daniel, as I show in Empty Tomb and, more briefly, Proving History; likewise, Matthew adds earthquakes to align the tale with the prophecy of Zechariah 14:5, and so on; Luke and John embellish the narrative yet further, though dropping nearly everything Matthew added: Historicity, p. 500-04; Empty Tomb, pp. 165-67).
Again another argument that assumed Matt has no accidents and had to have copied Mark. We know Matthew had other sources so he;s drawing upon knowledge from pre Mark redaction. That destorys Carrier's entire argument.Jo enitreargu,emt co,et;ey ignore Pre Mark redaction that kills it.Carrier

Carrier argues that Mattew's mention of guards on the tomb is an indication of fabrication He reasons that the guards were never mentioned before thus they are a response to Marks Story. The Gospel of Peter (GPet) has guards on the tomb. Carrier might reason that GPet is from the second century and just copied Matt's guards. Bit GPet is thought by scholars to contain a tradition older than Mark and independent of the canonical. Peter's guards are a second coroborating source for Matt.[6]

Carrier develops a major argument around the idea that Mark would have gotten eidee for empty tomb from various sources the psalms and  Psul's writings:

But Mark’s most likely inspiration were the Psalms, Mark’s penchant for reversing the reader’s expectations, and the ‘body as tomb’ concept-cluster, which I demonstrate in The Empty Tomb had deep connections in Paul. And as we know, Mark is riffing on Paul, transforming his Epistles into a narrative story about Jesus (see my recent article, Mark’s Use of Paul’s Epistles). Any one or several of these ideas may have been at play in Mark’s mind, but we can divide all influences into two possible directions: If Mark was a true Pauline Christian, then the tomb represents the corpse of Jesus. If not, then the tomb represents the ascension of Jesus.
This sort of reasoning is mandated by doubt. it's so much more complex and sumsy thn a straightforward narrative based upon the assumption that Jesus really rose from the dead. The mage m psalms are obvious as religious symbols because they are used by all Jewsoftahtera to express everything.we cannot understand them asprhoetic since Godsrealand he's really pseamg to people. The Pauline collection is just reverse engineering. Whathe sees as influence of Paul on Makris just the fact that Paul echoes the truth of christ' resurrection then year latter Mark echoes the echo. There is nothing "wrong" about Mark being a fan of Paul's.

Carrier's elaborate and overly complex palemcest is not proof that Mark made up the empty tomb. It is rather depednt upon the assumption tht Mark made up the empty tomb. It's Proof it's a side effect of the assumption. It's all just as easily explained away by belief.


[1]Richard Carrier, "Why Did Mark Invent an Empty Tomb?"website, 23 February 2020,



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

[5]James P. Ware, "Jesus’s Resurrection and Ours According to Paul the Apostle," News, Events, and Publocation,wevite, Houston Christian university.July 15, 2016,,and%20bones%20from%20the%20tomb.

[6] Ron Cameron,editor, The Other Gospels: Non Canonical Gospel Texsts,:Louisille: West Minster John Knox Press; first ed 1982, 77-8

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

this is what an atheist said to meon fcebook. to me this shows thedeeo lack ofhumancy dencency amogatheits. Paul Connelly Top contributor "Joe Hinman This is why you do not have a PhD! Only you are surprised that you failed to get one, the rest of us understand! Paul Cocker Joe, never finished his PhD Joe Hinman will just try and get you to buy his book that has all the answers! I refuse to pay less than a dollar for a book! I avoid the bargain basement bin as it normally screams failure!"