“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” ¯ Christopher Hitchens
It is your job to "prove" the Bible. It is not my job to disprove it.
Will the validity of evolution answer the question 'What is the purpose of man?'.
Yes, it can. We are the end product of 13+ billion years of natural occurences that are guided by blind laws of nature. We are as much the goal of the universe as the Moon or the asteroid Ceres. The purpose of man is the same as the purpose of Jupiter or Alpha Centauri. What teleological purpose we do find is the purpose we invent for ourselves.
If truth was obtainable through mental effort, there would be no room for faith, grace, mercy, or Love.
If history has shown us anything it is that truth can not be found throuhg mental effort alone. Rationalism lost out to Empiricism, and for good reason. Truth is obtained from reality, not mental effort. Our models of how the world works is not tested by common sense, but by empirical testing. Does it make sense that light can act as both a particle and a wave? Absolutely not, and yet it does. As it turns out, many aspects of reality are counter-intuitive. They run against human rationale. That is why it can not be trusted. That is why we test our claims against reality.
First, there is no such thing as "the Bible™"; there are instead several different anthologies of stories that call themselves the Bible even though very little is common to all of them.
One thing that is common to all of them is that the stories were all just written by men; unknown men for the most part; men who were simply really uneducated and uninformed about how this universe is organized.
Of course we can disprove many of those stories, the Garden of Eden never existed, the Biblical Flood myths are simply false, the Conquest of Canaan never happened as described in Joshua, the Exodus did not happen as described...the list goes on and on.
There is nothing wrong with believing that GOD created all that is, seen and unseen, or even that man is some special desired creation (although the latter must be considered either as really silly or the result of some really weird Coyote-like God), but to pretend that what is described in Genesis is some actual report of how life got here beggars the imagination.
Genesis 2&3 are a "Just so story" intended to explain why childbirth seems more difficult for humans than other animals, why we farm instead of being hunter gatherers, why folk fear snakes, why we wear clothes. Genesis 1 on the other hand was intended to establish a theological week and Sabbath. In both stories creation is simply a plot device meant to carry the tale along.
The Bible also has very little to contribute towards answering the question "What is the purpose of man" that is not covered much better in other tomes. There is also not much value in any absolute "TRUTH™" and such a critter if it existed is still pretty much irrelevant to gaining knowledge of how things work.
Faith, grace, mercy, love can only be obtained through mental effort; they are things an individual works at and the result of evolution, teaching and personal experience; of a growth in wisdom.
Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!
BUT it IS of crucial (both individually and as a species) importance to know WHY we are here.
then you go on to say
The answer to WHY we are here does not lie within the purview of knowledge
If it is crucial to know WHY we are here, but the answer is not within the realm of knowledge ... what are we to do? Let our feelings tell us why we are here?
The problem is this: Many believe that the physical realm is ALL there is. So, HOW we got here is of primary importance. IF we got here purely by natural processes, and we can explain everything with natural explanations, then what need is there to bring God into the discussion? So how can you discuss the WHY without the HOW?
Genetic mutation with the surviving traits trending towards an increase in intelligence. Eventually crossing (by possibly and perhaps even a single mutational change at the chromosomal level- of course) a threshold level whereby the increased intelligence resulted in a free will.
I have no idea what you are saying here. Do you believe free will is genetically encoded?
Or does intelligence give us the ability to think our way to free will?
Free will is dependent on a requisite level of intelligence, and not merely gross brain size but a high 'brain-to-body' ratio. These characteristics are genetically determined. I refer you to the book 'Extra-terrestrial Civilizations' by Isaac Asimov.
It's non-fiction, which puts it at an immediate disadvantage with fiction in the scale of boring. Plus, for cohesion and logical progression, it is written in a textbook style/format. Also, there is a readability problem resulting from inter-meshing logic, science, and scripture. But the scope of its field, and the relevance to mankind's fate, are considerable none-the-less.
Knowledge, indeed all of the physical universe, points seeking persons in the right direction. But the answer is deeper than knowledge- than a mere arrangement of neuronic pathways. The answer is an eternal Person received into the center of the seeker who opens to receive Him. But received into an organ- the human spirit- in the center of their being, deeper than their mind.
Believe what you like, it won't change the future. Many persons of high intellectual and educational attainment and capacity have thought otherwise. Pascal, Rousseau, ad infinitum. What did they know? After all, we have so much more reams of details, and such greater technological advancement.
I cannot 'prove' the Bible. Nor can a superficial understanding of it justify concluding that it is false. Fact of the matter is, it predicts certain events which have not yet transpired. And indications are favorable that most people here now will see, experience, and witness many of them. And when your own life is at stake, it will be hard even for the most dubious of skeptics to assert with 100% conviction that it is merely coincidence.
I will respond to all three messages #96, 97 and 98 in one post - its easier to manage a discussion that way. And it is easier to follow if you would indicate what comment or point you are responding to. *use the peek button to see how it is formatted*
Free will is dependent on a requisite level of intelligence, and not merely gross brain size but a high 'brain-to-body' ratio.
What are you basing this assertion on? Humans do not have the highest 'brain-to-body' ratio. Small birds have a brain-to-body ratio about 3 times higher than humans, a tree shrew has higher ratio than human, and a mouse has the same brain-to-body ratio as humans. The creatures are not candidates for free will are they?
Knowledge, indeed all of the physical universe, points seeking persons in the right direction.
The answer is an eternal Person received into the center of the seeker who opens to receive Him.
I assume you are referring to Jesus Christ as this Person.
But received into an organ- the human spirit- in the center of their being, deeper than their mind.
Uhmm?? The human spirit is an organ? Organs are made up of tissues and cells - they are physical entities. Have you another understanding of what an organ is? You make this sound as if it is an actual place within a person that we should be able to observe.
What you have done here is simply make bare assertions with no supporting evidence or even any reason for the assertion. As far as I am concerned the evidence doesn't even need to be physical or empirical. It could be logical, inferential or even just plausible. But you present nothing ... Just declarations. I quote what ringo said in Message 84
Anybody can rattle off empty claims - "God likes tofu." Show us the thinking behind your claims, one step at a time.
So where to start?? Lets go back to Message 59 that should be a good start. One step at a time show the thinking behind your claim that
A. Man evolved. B. His evolution from primate to man was distinguished by his obtaining a spirit. C. This was possible only when he became capable of being responsible, which is dependent on obtaining free will, which is dependent on reaching a 'plateau' level of brain-to-body ratio.
How do you distinguish between man, who has a spirit, and ape, who does not have a spirit? And maybe, how did the evolutionary process accomplish that? Another point you should be sure to expand on is how free will was imparted upon man? By evolution or by God once man reached an evolutionary plateau?
I think if you can address these 3 points we will have accomplished something here.
Edited by herebedragons, : No reason given.
Whoever calls me ignorant shares my own opinion. Sorrowfully and tacitly I recognize my ignorance, when I consider how much I lack of what my mind in its craving for knowledge is sighing for. But until the end of the present exile has come and terminated this our imperfection by which "we know in part," I console myself with the consideration that this belongs to our common nature. - Francesco Petrarca
quote: I cannot 'prove' the Bible. Nor can a superficial understanding of it justify concluding that it is false.
I would think that more than a superficial understanding of it should be required to justify concluding that it is true. Perhaps you should investigate it further rather than preaching.
quote: Fact of the matter is, it predicts certain events which have not yet transpired.
Certainly there are failed predictions in the Bible. This is not a reason for thinking that it is true.
quote: And indications are favorable that most people here now will see, experience, and witness many of them. And when your own life is at stake, it will be hard even for the most dubious of skeptics to assert with 100% conviction that it is merely coincidence.
I do not know what you mean by "favourable indications", but I very much doubt that it is true. Or even justifiable based on the Bible. But I will save further comment until you actually tell us what those "indications" are.
Then there is no compelling reason for me to think that it is accurate.
Fact of the matter is, it predicts certain events which have not yet transpired. And indications are favorable that most people here now will see, experience, and witness many of them. And when your own life is at stake, it will be hard even for the most dubious of skeptics to assert with 100% conviction that it is merely coincidence.
Then it makes me wonder what convinced you that the Bible is accurate given that these events have not transpired by your own admission.
If we are here due to the impersonal, non-teleological, stochastic workings of the laws of physics then the only purpose to life that there is is what we invent for ourselves. I think that is extremely important to understand, don't you?
Kind of. Personally, I think that even if God created us for a very specific, special and important purpose... we have the ability to have a greater and even more important purpose if we invent one and give it to ourselves.
We are people, with conscious thinking minds. We are not inanimate, unthinking tools.
Take a simple example: A parent has a kid in order to help them farm the land. The kid realizes he loves to work as a doctor and healing others' wounds. What is the greater/better purpose for the child? The one given from the parent? ...to farm the land and help the family? Or the one given from himself? ...to help others and be a doctor? The question is not easy and may not even have a "correct" answer. But, what is obvious is that the decision should be the child's (as they grow up) and whatever they think is best is what should be done. The decision definitely should not come from the parent simply because that was their intention before the child was born. Such a view is simply immature.
In this sense, it doesn't matter whether or not we were created or if we developed naturally... the end result is the same... the greatest purpose is the one we can invent for ourselves.