quote:But I have never seen an atheist rescue mission, able to provide purpose and meaning to those in the gutter and turn their lives around by preaching a message of atheism!
So no one outside of religious believers have purpose in their lives? Do you really think that? Do you really believe that no one has found purpose in secular causes? Do you really believe that anyone who has quit drugs or made something of themselves required a belief in God? Do you really think that no one has found purpose and meaning in their relationships with friends and family, and that purpose and meaning led them to stop using drugs and make something of themselves?
I didn't say or imply any of these things, of course. What I said was quite clear, and is quoted above.
quote:Science studies nature; if someone disagrees with an interpretation of nature, he can go and examine nature himself. Analogously, Christianity studies the Bible. If someone disagrees with an interpretation of the Bible, he can go and examine it himself.
You are leaving out a lot here. For a start, as soon as you go beyond "the Bible says" to claiming that what it says is true you are invoking faith. And then again, on the liberal side you have many Christians who do not accept that the Bible is absolutely authoritative, dismissing the parts of it that do not agree with their theology. On the conservative side you have many Christians who do exactly the same thing, but can't even admit it. Worse, the conservatives are often hostile to Bible scholarship, which should be an essential part of any serious study of the book.
And there are some philosophers of science and professional scientists who likewise do not claim that their theories are necessarily "true" or that they reflect reality. Some are happy to view scientific theories as pragmatic models or constructs that may actually have no fundamental reality (i.e. there may actually be no such thing as a quark).
I was not claiming that the presence of reason and evidence makes either religion or science true.
quote:No, I am definitely not ignoring those who make such claims. In Message 141 I demonstrated that Christian theology involves reason and objective evidence, disproving the claim that religion "involves ONLY subjective evidence and appeals to authority."
No, you showed quite clearly that it relies only on appeal to authority, the written word of the bible. That's the only "evidence" that you relied on. True, anyone can look at the bible and see what it says. But looking at the bible and seeing what it says is nothing more than an appeal to authority. Nobody can look at any evidence to see if what the bible says is true.
A classic appeal to authority.
Did you actually read Message 141? Where did I appeal to authority? Where does the grammatical/theological reasoning that I presented depend on the Bible being authoritiative?
The evidence and reasoning that I presented in Message 141 specifically do NOT appeal to the authority of the Bible. Studying the Bible to figure out what it says and means is no more an appeal to authority than studying Homer or Einstein to figure out what they say and mean. This is an analytical, reasoning process. It can be done by non-Christians as well as Christians. I did NOT claim that the presence of evidence and reasoning means that the biblical message is necessarily true.
In lieu of replying to your earlier message, I'll reply to this, since we're still in very much the same territory.
Did you actually read Message 141? Where did I appeal to authority? Where does the grammatical/theological reasoning that I presented depend on the Bible being authoritiative?
Let's see if we can get to the core of this one. We have two possibilities; "Titus 2:13 claims x" and "Titus 2:13 claims y". Suppose we resolve the linguistic conundrum that is the subject of your reasoning; let's say it's "x". Where do we go from there?
Working out exactly what the text says is all well and good, but at best, it leaves us with "Titus says x". What are we to do with this statement? Appeal to it's authority as holy writ? What else might we reasonably do with it?
Throughout this thread you have attempted to show that the reasoning employed by religion is equivalent to that used in science. I believe this is false. With your example of religious reasoning, all we can do is ascertain what the opinion of the author of Titus was. At best. It leads us nowhere, except to a bald assertion, with no data to back it up. This is wholly different from scientific reasoning, which always leads back to an original set of empirical observations.
You have demonstrated that theists can apply reason in interpreting a text. That is all. Anyone can do that, it's nothing special. What your sparring partners on this thread are trying to get at is that the central claims of religion are not of the same nature as some matter of linguistic interpretation. We are talking about some of the defining beliefs of religions. In the narrow case of Christianity, we're talking about things like the resurrection, original sin, the afterlife, the divinity of Jesus, etc. These are the kind of truth-claims that Christians make, often with a startling degree of certainty. These are claims of great magnitude, yet they appear to the outside observer to be wholly unevidenced.
If there truly is any similarity between scientific and religious reasoning, you should be able to either;
a) provide examples of reasoning and evidence for these kinds of claims, such as might be accepted in scientific circles, or; b) provide examples of extremely important ideas within science that are as unfounded as the religious ideas I have outlined.*
Note that I'm not talking about foundation assumptions about reality and objective observable universe; those assumptions underpin all philosophies, by necessity. I'm talking about big important ideas, equivalent to the risen Christ or such.
Or you could just admit that science and religion don't employ actually share that much similarity after all.
Mutate and Survive
*If anyone says "The Theory of Evolution!", I will kill a kitten. Please, think of the kittens.
As I said, we know Paul was at Jerusalem at that time. We know that he was a premier Pharisee ''advancing in stature within Judaism's Jerusalem temple Leadership'' (wiki).
And we know Jesus caused a turmoil in their ranks, and that they judged him. This are reasons to believe that Paul could have met Jesus.
All very plausible. It is however still speculation. It could have happened, but you have no reason to suppose that it did, other than wishful thinking. This is typical apologetics; it would convenient for you to be able to say that Paul was a witness to a flesh and blood Jesus, so you start to suppose... It's all very nice, but you have no real reason to suggest it in the first place.
It's like the suggestion that Shakespeare wrote one of the psalms. He was certainly in the right place, at the right time and had the right skills. He had the right connections to the royal court, the right flair with poetry, it's all very plausible. Apart from one thing; there's no evidence to suggest it in the first place. It's just whimsy. Without evidence, that's all your Paul theory is.
Well, you made the baseless assertion. ''Paul never met Jesus''. And you rebuke me for asking any reasons why you think that, defending yourself behind ''you can't prove a negative'' ? When I don't even ask a proof of it, only for reasons to think it to be possibly true.
Fair enough. I think this partly because there is no tradition of Paul having met Jesus. It's not a mainstream part of Christian thought. There's no historical basis that I know of. But mainly, it's just because Paul doesn't mention it. Not once. He mentions a great many events, some of which reflect poorly on him, but he never mentions meeting his hero? Seriously? He just skipped that bit? That stretches credulity.
All told, it is hard to believe that Paul met his idol yet failed to mention it and with no evidence whatsoever to suggest that he did, it seems like you're going out on a limb, just for the sake of being able to call Paul an eyewitness to Christ.
Glad to see your first proposed topic catching on so well. Very interesting discussion (the only downside is reading up on the discussion eats up a bit of time).
I'm of the belief that although I disagree with it, evolutionists believe based on reason and logic and a little bit of faith to fill a few holes
You are correct that scientists do rely on faith. So do you. Presumably, when you get up in the morning you have faith that gravity will still keep you attached to the ground. Without looking in the garage (or the driveway) you'll probably assume that your car hasn't changed color overnight. It is much simpler to assume that things are much the same as they were last night, rather than to speculate that some unknown entity repainted your car and moved your house. Of course, you can always look out the window to be "sure".
In science, the simplest explanation is said to have the most "parsimony" (and no doubt scientists here will correct me if I apply the term incorrectly). Basically, a parsimonious explanation is that explanation which requires the least unevidenced or redundant parts to explain a phenomenon.
If I come upon a bloody murder, with the Butler standing right next to the victim holding a bloodied candlestick and wearing bloodied clothing whilst loudly exclaiming "I did it!", I could make the simple assumption that the Butler committed the murder with the candlestick. However, I could also speculate that the murder was committed by an intelligent race of spacefaring penguins, who cruelly framed the butler and are using mind control to make him confess to the crime. Either explanation could be true, certainly neither one is disproven at the scene of the crime. But the former is more parsimonious.
Explanations that are not parsimonious are generally deemed less likely than parsimonious ones. One might speculate that unknown forces altered the speed of light, and carefully adjusted every property of the universe to make it reflect that the universe is younger than it appears. It is certainly a possibility. But which requires more faith to accept? That the Creator is playing silly buggers with scientists? Or that considerable evidence for an old earth exists precisely because the earth is old?
There are always gaps in science, and we have faith that when those gaps eventually get filled they'll make sense, and hopefully mesh with the rest of what we know about the universe so far (otherwise it's back to the drawing board). There is no need to point out that evolutionists rely on faith. Every single person on this planet relies on faith to make it through the day. The reason creationism is not on par with the theory of evolution, is that the former requires many more leaps of faith, while the latter is more parsimonious.
quote: And there are some philosophers of science and professional scientists who likewise do not claim that their theories are necessarily "true" or that they reflect reality. Some are happy to view scientific theories as pragmatic models or constructs that may actually have no fundamental reality (i.e. there may actually be no such thing as a quark).
To start with let it be noted that you do not answer the point that your "acid test" is widely rejected by Christians - either implicitly or even explicitly. That in itself kills your claim of a parallel.
I am aware of the view that we should not accept even a scientific view of reality and even the proper name for such a view (Instrumentalism), I am not aware of any Christians, even the most liberal, who would go quite so far, even if we include the Sea of Faith and their "non-literalist God"
Indeed, it seems that the view of Christianity you are putting forward is not one that many would take seriously. Many object when a liberal Christian says that it is not necessary to believe in the Virgin Birth or that the literal resurrection of Jesus is of no real importance. Indeed, it seems that I am almost a Christian in your view, lacking only the faith commitment that the Bible is consistent. I don't believe in God, I think that Jesus was a failed wannabe messiah and I reject the whole concept of salvation. How many self-styled Christians here would accept me as one of them ?
So it seems that even taking your view to the ridiculous extreme there is still an element of faith that cannot be removed. Even if we throw out the idea that there is any truth at all in the religious claims of the Bible you must still assume that the Bible is at least consistent on those claims. But that is something that is itself questionable.
I have said over and over and over that there is MORE faith in religion then science. I still maintain that science has some holes to fill in that are currently filled in by faith. Some on your side have agreed to this already. I started this thread in regards to the very first step of evolution, or the origins of life....the answers I've gotten are faith answers such as it MIGHT have happened...or POSSIBLY this is what....or even, it doesn't really matter what started the process. To me, those are faith statements and the very first step that is unknown at this point cannot be replicated in a lab. Science changes on a regular basis. A text book that taught evolution 30 years ago is today obsolete. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree as to whether science involves any faith whatsoever because I'm convinced there is faith, to a certain extent, involved.
I started this thread in regards to the very first step of evolution, or the origins of life....the answers I've gotten are faith answers such as it MIGHT have happened...or POSSIBLY this is what....or even, it doesn't really matter what started the process.
As a parallel, do christians claim that Jesus might have risen from the dead, or possibly God created the universe (through whatever means). No, they don't. They state these things as fact. If you merely raise a possible answer this is not faith. If you suggest that something might have occurred a certain way this is not faith. If you push a scientist for an absolute answer to the origin of life their answer is "I don't know". Is that what christians claim? No.
Science changes on a regular basis. A text book that taught evolution 30 years ago is today obsolete.
Yes, this is the exact opposite of faith. If faith were employed in science as it is in religion then no one would do any research since we already have the answers. No textbook would change just as the religious texts never change within religions. The fact that science does change its findings to fit new evidence demonstrates that science does not use faith in the same way that religion does. This is a difference of kind, not degree.
It would be applicable, of course. But Paul's logic and reasoning in any particular instance doesn't affect my general claim that theology involves evidence and reason.
Your inability to point to the reasoning that Paul used does affect your claim.
Note what I mentioned: theological data and biblical evidence. The Bible is a text; its evidence is necessarily literary and grammatical. This is a central, inseparable part of theology. Your attempts to divorce study of the text from Christianity are disingenuous.
The only use of logic and reason you can show is used to define the opinion held in the Bible. You have failed to show how logic and reason lead to those opinions. I can only conclude that religious beliefs are reached without reference to logic or reason.
Christianity is based on the teachings of the Bible. The Bible must be studied to understand first what it says and then what this means. This study involves evidence from many different disciplines (grammar, history, literature, etc.) This process clearly involves evidence and reason. I don't understand why you and others find this claim objectionable and try to deny it?
Understanding what the Bible is claiming does is not the same ans understanding the logic and reasoning that was used to reach those claims. Don't you understand the difference?
I still maintain that science has some holes to fill in that are currently filled in by faith
Which holes are these?
I started this thread in regards to the very first step of evolution, or the origins of life
Which isn't really a step in biological evolution. It's what came before the first step. But I see your point. You're saying that because we don't know what started life off, we must use faith as a placeholder until we do know. What's wrong with simply not knowing?
Science is agnostic about what it doesn't know. Scientists are not required to believe a priori that life arose in a certain way. I'm not a scientist, but I believe that right now there is no consensus as to how exactly life arose. We know that the components of life, amino acids, can come together through natural means. But we don't know how the first "living", evolving molecules formed and developed.
No faith is required to say "I don't know". Sure, one might speculate, as Darwin did, of "warm little ponds". But not even Darwin claimed to know the answer to life's origins, and certainly did not make it part of his theory.
My experience of science (from reading textbooks and popular science writers) is that gaps are not filled by faith, but by speculation and study. Until we know what caused the first replicating molecules, there will be competing hypotheses, but no sure answer. Where do you see faith in this process?
A text book that taught evolution 30 years ago is today obsolete
Thank goodness science classes stay clear of 3000 year old accounts then.
If you seriously think that the objection that rational people have to religion is based on hermeneutics, you either haven't been paying attention or you're irretrievably stupid.
Faith in religion has little to do with whether someone's particular interpretation is accurate or not, but whether the claims made by the religion are accurate. Would you care to try to defend that territory, or will you concede that, in that regard, religion is based on subjective evidence and appeals to authority? Or will you simply ignore this question?
Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus. -- Thomas Jefferson
For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and non-believers. -- Barack Obama
We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat
If the interpretation of the experience is based upon faith, then all arguments that rest upon that interpretation are faith-based as well. Given that there is no way of empirically demonstrating that the interpretation is correct, that leaves the faith essentially blind.
I see what your saying, but it doesn't really reflect how people with faith have beliefs and which are or are not blind. There's a distinction between blind faith and other beliefs that are faith-based but not really blind. You're failing, or refusing, to ackowledge it.
Maybe if we move from beliefs in Jesus/gods then I can show you the distinction. Lets use ghosts.
Person A has heard about ghosts from stories and believes they exists. Let this be blind faith.
Person B gets the shit scared out of them by a vision of an incorporeal person and believes it was a ghost. I wouldn't even really call this faith, but I can understand why you'd call it that, what with the whole lack of empirical evidence, although I wouldn't consider this faith to be blind like person A's is because they're actually basing the belief on something they've experienced rather than pretty much nothing at all.