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Author Topic:   Anti-theist
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 411 of 479 (886621)
05-27-2021 4:03 PM
Reply to: Message 401 by Raphael
05-26-2021 6:51 PM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
Raphael writes:

He starts by appealing to (what one assumes) is an audience of Christians, or at least Americans, using an example of Islam.

His audience is almost exclusively Christian.

He appeals to the idea that non Muslims do not lose an ounce of sleep ever thinking about whether or not they will burn in hell for eternity for not believing the Quran is the divine word of Allah (what he perceives as its central claim).

If you watch the video again you'll see that by this point he's turned it around and is saying Christians have an exceedingly casual attitude toward the possibility that Islam is right and that they and their children and their children's children will be condemned to hell for all eternity for the sin of not accepting the right religion.

Essentially, he concludes with a pretty powerful statement, seen above in my title for this point, to argue that christianity appears the exact same way to those who do not believe it.

Or, to repeat my own earlier argument, but for one deity most people are anti-theist.

=That said, I find this argument lacking. He does well to make this comparison, as it is a powerful idea that would probably open the eyes of many more fundamentalist Christians to see how others perceive them, as well as opening the mental category that others exist in the world who see us in the same way we see them; with simple dismissal. This is a powerful exercise that could probably benefit us all, Christian, anti-theist, and Sikh alike. However, this argument doesn't really hold up well.

If you think the argument doesn't hold up then you're misconstruing it. Both Islam and Christianity argue the other is fiction, and both are right. Of course the details of the arguments of each differ, but to use the legal system as an analogy, while all fraud cases differ, they're all still about fraud.

You can say, "They argue this while we argue that, and we argue that while they argue this," but they are differences of detail and not of form. They're both false for the same fundamental reason: they're made up. Encouraging people to look at their own religion from the perspective of another's is a way of helping them see this.

Your hermeneutical diversity argument is, in one sense, meaningless because even a most liberal Christian religion that accepted all religious belief is still wrong from Harris's perspective because all religious belief is wrong. It's all based upon humanity's underlying need for purpose and not on any valid reasoning based on facts. You err in fixating on Harris's "burn in hell for all eternity" scenario because it's just one example of false belief selected from centuries of accumulated and mostly discarded false belief.

But your hermeneutical diversity argument is, in another sense, the epitome of the very argument you're arguing against. Amidst all this interpretational diversity, they can't all be right. The Puritans were no more right in their belief of burning in hell for all eternity than are many contemporary concepts of hell as a place of damnation but not of torture. Not only does modern Christian belief fail when viewed through the eyes of Islam but even when viewed through its own eyes of four hundred years ago or even just down the street at a different Christian church.

Now, one might argue "hermeneutical diversity is simply a cop out for what the book clearly says." Sure, I hear that. However this isn't actually a foreign concept to us. For example, only last week new research emerged that any alcohol consumption actually harms the brain. This is a pretty big deal, however this study has yet to be peer reviewed...etc...

As Harris explained, science is tentative. This study won't be the last word on alcohol and the brain, plus the scientific data on the benefits of alcohol for something else (I forget what - cancer? stroke?) are pretty strong, and then there are the psychological aspects.

As you have pointed out yourself, AZPPaul, the scientists themselves were the ones asking the ethical questions at the creation of the atom bomb.

Well, duh. One doesn't trade humanity for a science degree.

Anyway. Inevitably, no matter what happens in the peer review process, not all scientists will agree with the meaning of the data.

Harris covered this. You can't justifiably fill in the blanks of what science doesn't know or isn't certain of with the God of Abraham.

It is basically an appeal to emotion that uses a scarecrow and assumptions as a foundation, which, as I have shown, is a bit basic.

You couldn't be more wrong. It's an appeal to fact and reason.

I do not think though, that Harris thinks this is really a strong argument. He is a smart guy! I get the sense he knows this is simply an appeal to emotion, a "minds eye" sort of game even, and not an actual cogent argument. We will see his stronger arguments moving forward. Moving on then!

Translation: "And so I dismiss and ignore this argument without waiting to see what flaws are found in my own and move on to my next point."

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 401 by Raphael, posted 05-26-2021 6:51 PM Raphael has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 416 by Raphael, posted 05-29-2021 4:14 AM Percy has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 412 of 479 (886624)
05-28-2021 9:21 AM
Reply to: Message 403 by Raphael
05-26-2021 9:42 PM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
There's a fundamental mistake religion makes, one Harris doesn't mention, and that's to default to trust before anything is proven. You trust the Bible before establishing facts, then work backwards to rationalize that unearned trust. An a priori examination of the facts that follows wherever the evidence leads never happens.

A key Harris argument you missed, but it went by very fast on his way to another point, is that the gospels were written decades after Jesus's life.

This is important; essentially none of the things Harris presents here are "skeletons in the closet" of Christianity. He brings them up as if these things are the "hidden dark secret" of the Bible, when in reality, anybody who has done any high level academic work in Biblical studies knows these things. What's more, New Testament scholars are the first to acknowledge gaps in knowledge, inconsistencies, and blind spots, and in fact it was NT Scholars who discovered these "discrepancies." I learned this stuff in my third year of undergrad studies lol.

So the Bible has all these "gaps in knowledge, inconsistencies, and blind spots" (not to mention outright errors), but you believe the stories. Why? Islam likewise has problems, but I assume you believe those real. Why?

What if there were no differences, no discrepancies, no internal or external errors? What if every copy of every Biblical book were identical, like the text of all copies of The Hobbit are identical? You'd still believe it all. Why?

Saying, "We already know about all these problems and we aren't concerned about them because of our huge apologetic archives," may be okay for you, but it isn't particularly persuasive to anyone else. There are many examples of the human mind accepting the completely unevidenced, stolen elections, for example. What is your argument that that's not the case with religion, particularly when so many claim truth where all cannot possibly be right?

In response, the Biblical view (I don't like this name lol but it is the most clear) posits that science is axiologically limited. This means that the supernatural (including miracles) are outside of the boundary of what it is able to test. Science can attempt to study miracles, but since supernatural phenomenon are outside of its axiological scope, it has no tools to either verify or falsify them.

Leaving aside what appears an incorrect axiology reference, discussions can get tied in knots on the scientific study of the supernatural. Science studies the natural, so if unnatural phenomena exist they should lie outside its reach. But if, for example, the Virgin Mary appears then presumably light is involved, else she couldn't be seen, in which case science can study the phenomena since light is natural. So is the supernatural actually part of the natural world? The whole subject is a rathole. We'll never agree whether science can study the supernatural.

Therefore, when we read the text, we are asked by the author to trust that their testimony is true, or, in other words, believe by faith. This faith decision is, in part, simple faith, but also an intellectual decision based on evidence.

This makes little sense. Faith has no need of evidence while evidence removes the need for faith. Beliefs based upon observation and analysis are scientific, upon faith religious. Once you claim evidence underlies your beliefs it is no longer faith.

To me though, it all comes down to recognizing our own inherent biases...etc...

Science works toward the elimination of bias through replication and consensus, while you seem to be embracing bias as an excuse for believing anything. Would you accept this argument: "I'm biased toward a stolen election, you're biased toward a free and fair election, we must all admit we have biases and carry on, so I'm justified in voting against certification of the vote." Saying, "Oh, we're all biased," is an excuse for not doing the work to underpin your beliefs with facts.

- If the miracle stories were false, why do we not find any documents or evidence from the era of people debunking them?

Why would anyone in 30 AD try to debunk stories that didn't exist until decades later.

- If the miracle stories, in particular, the story of the resurrection, were fiction, how would a fictitious story spread as truth with as much potency as the early church did?

If the Quran is fiction, how would it spread as truth with such power and swiftness?

Surely at least one alleged eyewitness would admit the truth that they made it up,...

Were there eyewitnesses? Or just stories about eyewitnesses?

- Why were these stories so compelling to a group of people that they were willing to die by the thousands, for the validity of them?

Why is Islam so compelling that people were and are willing to die for it by the thousands, do anything for it, including flying planes into buildings.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Grammar.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 403 by Raphael, posted 05-26-2021 9:42 PM Raphael has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 413 by Phat, posted 05-28-2021 10:01 AM Percy has responded
 Message 417 by Raphael, posted 05-29-2021 5:31 AM Percy has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


(1)
Message 414 of 479 (886630)
05-28-2021 11:05 AM
Reply to: Message 413 by Phat
05-28-2021 10:01 AM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
Reality does not depend upon environment or "what we feel comfortable with" or our worldview. You reject reality at your peril.

Rejecting some things about reality carries no consequences. Believing the sun orbits the Earth will cause you no harm (unless you're trying to get a job in astronomy). Believing cyanide is safe to drink will kill you.

I expect you accept everything about reality that might in some way cause you harm, and that you let your comfort and worldview govern all other belief.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 413 by Phat, posted 05-28-2021 10:01 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 415 by Phat, posted 05-28-2021 2:44 PM Percy has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 420 of 479 (886648)
05-29-2021 8:53 AM
Reply to: Message 415 by Phat
05-28-2021 2:44 PM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
Phat writes:

I realize that I cant defend the supernatural as a fact.

If not as fact then what will you defend it as?

There are rumors that Elvis is alive just as there are many Believers who claim that Jesus is alive.

Rumors? You're including rumors as part of your "figure out what is true" process?

I respect your defense of separating science from belief, however.

I hope I didn't say it this way. Science has evidence for what it believes likely true about the real world, religion does not.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 415 by Phat, posted 05-28-2021 2:44 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 461 by Phat, posted 06-04-2021 4:04 PM Percy has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 426 of 479 (886676)
05-30-2021 1:36 PM
Reply to: Message 416 by Raphael
05-29-2021 4:14 AM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
I'll first respond to the dominant themes in your two messages, Message 416 and Message 417, then respond to the details.

Science does not and cannot study the supernatural, only the natural. Anything about the supernatural that you think science can study is actually natural.

Religion has no epistemological methods for the natural world, and no evidence of any for the supernatural world. Revelation is not evidence of anything.

On to the details...

Raphael writes:

His audience is almost exclusively Christian.
Christians have an exceedingly casual attitude toward the possibility that Islam is right

Or, to repeat my own earlier argument, but for one deity most people are anti-theist.

If you think the argument doesn't hold up then you're misconstruing it.

For sure. I understand what he is saying,...

Declaring you understand and showing you understand are two different things. Throughout your two messages you have relied too often upon declaration instead of demonstration.

You've totally dismissed everything I wrote by chopping it up to me misunderstanding him. It's a great strategy I've seen you use often! Haha.

However, I'm pretty confident in my ability to understand what he's arguing.

Declaring your confidence in yourself is a wholly different thing from earning the confidence of others, the kind of confidence that really matters.

I can admit I did fixate on his interpretive work, but that is because, frankly, I do not think Sam Harris even understands what the Bible (or the Quran) is about. I question his interpretive work from which he is drawing conclusions. I don't blame him for his interpretation, they have been perpetuated by certain groups in the Church for many years.

You offer no evidence that Harris doesn't understand the Bible or the Quran, you simply declare it, even though you see his views as the same as those "perpetuated by certain groups in the Church." Are these "certain groups" equally uninformed?

His point, which, again, I agree is very poignant (I pretty much agree with it!) that major religions ought to consider the implications of other religions, if true, stands.

However, if he does not even understand the claim of the religion he is rebutting, his argument falls short. That was my point.

You agree with Harris yet think his argument falls short. Since you agree with him then you must know what argument he should have offered that wouldn't fall short.

You can say, "They argue this while we argue that, and we argue that while they argue this," but they are differences of detail and not of form. They're both false for the same fundamental reason: they're made up.

I respect your belief that both are made up, but to me, whether or not they are made up isn't really relevant to his argument.

You're making the "Trust first then rationalize it" mistake again. Of course I don't think the supernatural has any real-world basis in fact, because no religion in the entire history of religion has even demonstrated it. Given that history of course I don't default to trust. I would never default to trust on questions of what is real and what is not. You shouldn't either. No one should.

It is valuable, dare I say crucial for anyone to contemplate the implications of their worldview being totally wrong. With this point, I am with Harris. Where I diverge is his understanding of what the religions are and what their goals are. I question his understanding of the fundamental claims and therefore his ability to critique them. I wish he would do better!

You're again declaring your position while providing no justification for it.

Anyone who has done any higher education knows, any attempt to critique an argument/position/belief system without doing the work of understanding the opposing view comes across as elementary and unacceptable.

More declaration, which is a worse offense even if you're right, which is only possible by luck.

But your hermeneutical diversity argument is, in another sense, the epitome of the very argument you're arguing against. Amidst all this interpretational diversity, they can't all be right.

I can see how it seems that way, but I do not agree.

I hope this has some other meaning than as a claim that all hermeneutical interpretations could be true. But if that's what you meant then you'll have to explain.

The Bible itself is a document that acknowledges its own inability to actually convey truth in its truest form. The metaphor I use often is some unknown object being reflected off a multi-sided diamond. Think of "truth" as if it is the invisible object, out of view. All we have is the diamond. And so we do our best with the reflection. We "see in a glass dimly," as the Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians. But we have no idea what it really looks like. The scriptures are self-aware in this sense.

Now you're descending into mumbo-jumbo. "Truth in its truest form"? Religion does not tell us anything that is likely true about the real world, and there is no method that can establish whether anything it tells us about the supernatural is true.

Even you, as we debate, are working from a specific hermeneutical framework you either learned or some person gave you. You are projecting a certain framework as you speak, and so does Harris. These things are inescapable. Not all frameworks are created equal. Many are, frankly, "wack" . That's my point.

Assuming you mean "hermeneutical" in a religious rather than secular sense, I have no hermeneutical framework. Neither does Harris. We both interpret evidence in a scientific context, because the scientific method (and the approximations of it we use in everyday life) is the only way we know to establish what is likely true about the real world. And there is no method that has ever been shown to reliably tell us anything true about the supernatural world.

Sometimes data points to one conclusive meaning, but more often than not, there is a range. It is then up to trusted competent members in the community to weigh in on which meanings are more valuable than others. The same is true for scripture.

In the early days of any scientific field of inquiry there can be a wide range of views, and any early consensus is also highly tentative. But as a field matures the range of views narrows and the consensus broadens to near unanimity. Of course, consensuses are never completely unanimous. There are still flat-earthers and geocentrists and an entire community of relativity deniers, it for some reason being a favorite target of the self-deluded and mathematically incompetent.

I brought this up to point to the fact that there is diversity in the way the scientific community interprets data.

Of course there are a wide variety of interpretational techniques available to science, but I think what you're actually trying to say is that there is diversity in the interpretations of the data arrived at by the scientific community. The degree of variety is a function of the amount and the quality of the data, which is completely appropriate. For example, we do not yet have enough data for there to be a consensus on dark matter, although the MACHO possibility has been largely excluded. But for relativity the amount of data is massive and the consensus is broad and deep.

You couldn't be more wrong. It's an appeal to fact and reason.

I agree with reason, but what facts? He makes a very compelling argument based on the idea that one ought to contemplate how little the catastrophic implications of other religions affect oneself. In response, I say, one ought to have done the work to understand the core message of said religion before critiquing its implications.

Again, declaration without data. Describe these "core messages" of the various religions, explain how Harris's examples (hell and damnation, the Catholic wafer) aren't related to them, and explain why any questions about a religion's truth can only focus on the "core message."

Translation: "And so I dismiss and ignore this argument without waiting to see what flaws are found in my own and move on to my next point."

Ironically, this is what you have done to me .

This is equivalent to, "No I didn't, you did," and is, again, substance free.

I understand his argument, I even said it was compelling in its own way.

This is more declaration and provides no indication you understand his argument. Except for your own religion you disbelieve all the world's religions and see them as using unproven techniques for gaining knowledge, even though your religion uses the same techniques, for example revelation.

However I do not think he views this as his strongest reason against religion.

So you think he's keeping his strongest argument against religion in his hip pocket? What makes you think this?

The mental exercise he posits is valuable in its own way. I question, though, if he has done due diligence in understanding the central claims of both religions, and his examples of their central claims demonstrate to me he has not. If he has not taken either religion seriously enough to understand their central claims, or at least acknowledge the hermeneutical diversity in each community, why should I take his argument seriously?

Obviously you're not taking it seriously since you offer no data or details to support your declarations.

It's intellectually lazy.

Look in the mirror. All this stuff about "core messages" and the "truest truth" and "see dimly" and all that are excuses for religion being intellectually bankrupt with regard to establishing anything true. Religious views will always evolve and change with time, not to mention new religions forming all the time, while what science learns about the real world is eternal but continually refined. In a billion years Boyle's Gas Law will still be a very accurate description of reality, while, if we're still around, likely no one will care about or even have heard of Jesus or Mohammed.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 416 by Raphael, posted 05-29-2021 4:14 AM Raphael has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


(1)
Message 427 of 479 (886682)
05-30-2021 9:16 PM
Reply to: Message 417 by Raphael
05-29-2021 5:31 AM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
Raphael writes:

There's a fundamental mistake religion makes, one Harris doesn't mention, and that's to default to trust before anything is proven. You trust the Bible before establishing facts, then work backwards to rationalize that unearned trust. An a priori examination of the facts that follows wherever the evidence leads never happens.

That is true! Religion and in particular Christianity definitely does this. But it does this for an important reason I have tried to talk about a lot here; it is a difference in epistemology. You have asked about this before, Percy, and I have been been admittedly hesitant . And I still am! Lol. I don't know that I'm ready to provide an exhaustive treatise on alternative epistemologies (I'd like to at some point!), but to speak to this point, most religions believe in divine revelation as an alternate form of epistemology. This is why we work this way.

"Believing what somebody claimed God told them" is not an epistemology.

I will agree that religion, Christianity in particular, is an optimistic faith.

You're optimistic about the reliability of Christian beliefs, but pessimistic about other religions' beliefs. Does that seem objective to you?

At the core, we trust the stories of those who have come before to be true.

Why? If it's okay for you to trust your religion's stories, why isn't it okay to trust other religion's stories? Aren't they also "the stories of those who have come before us"?

A scientist views this through the lens of the scientific method; we view it through the lens of relationship. Think of it as if the Apostle Peter (who we believe is the source of the Gospel of Mark) is handing a firsthand account down a long line of people, who eventually hand it to you, and asks "This actually happened to me. Won't you trust me?"

You wouldn't trust the message from the final person in a long game of telephone, so why are you trusting it when it's religion? In particular, why are you trusting it when it's your religion and not someone else's religion?

The fact that the gospels were written decades after Jesus' life is critical evidence for their accuracy not the other way around.

You're going to have to explain the logic behind this one.

There would be people alive who could verify the truth of the events.

Sure there could, but *did* they verify the truth of the events? Whatever your answer, how did this knowledge come to you?

Most documents from the time period have hundreds of years between the event and the account or earliest known copy.

Another bald declaration. I don't know what documents you're thinking of, but do you really give much credibility to documents based on oral accounts hundreds of years old? In the absence of independent corroboration, how would you go about persuading an historian to accept these documents as reliable?

So the Bible has all these "gaps in knowledge, inconsistencies, and blind spots" (not to mention outright errors), but you believe the stories. Why? Islam likewise has problems, but I assume you believe those real. Why?

As I said earlier, because it is relational, not scientific.

Giving bogus reasoning a label doesn't change the fact that it is bogus.

We think about it through this lens. When someone in your family, someone you trust and love, tells you something miraculous happened to them, at the least, you believe it was significant to them. Then when others corroborate the story, it becomes even more convincing.

Do you have any evidence that the Bible is based upon the accounts of trusted and loved family members that were corroborated by others? Has a trusted and loved member of your family never lied to you or tried to convince you of untrue things that they themselves were honestly convinced of? Do you maybe have any Trump supporters in your family who you trust and love, who are utterly convinced the election was stolen, and who are trying to convince you of same?

And why do you think the accounts of trusted and loved family members that found their way into the Bible should be trusted, but such accounts of the same nature that found their way into the Quran should not?

In the end, it is a faith decision we are all presented with.

You're going to try to reinvent the definition of faith later, so I'll hold back my response for now.

This doesn't mean we don't think critically.

Yes, faith does mean you don't think critically. And contradictorily too, by granting all these privileges of trust to Christian accounts and none to other religions.

I'll interject here that the training you've received only works in certain very limited contexts, mostly among other believers where a minister speaking nonsense with a straight face is interpreted as their having knowledge and understanding that the average person doesn't possess. But, of course, the reality is that the emperor has no clothes, as is quickly revealed as soon as they step outside the church's confines into the real world where the schtick has little effect.

Hence the questions I posed a few posts earlier when I was responding to Harris' 2nd argument. These are questions we intellectually ask the eyewitnesses.

What eyewitnesses?

Why was this so significant for you? If it didn't happen, why would you, and every other eyewitness die saying it did?

Why do you believe that's what happened?

Was everybody insane or indoctrinated? Not even one confession? Why would a fictional story be written with so many unnecessary parts that hinder its believability? Why would the author write-in barriers to the culture of the time being able to believe it? Why do the authors mention people on first name basis and never mention them again?

You're arguing that no one would write miraculous illogical unbelievable accounts unless they were true. It varies by religion, of course, but other religions also have miraculous illogical unbelievable accounts. Why are Christianity's true and those of other religions false?

What if there were no differences, no discrepancies, no internal or external errors? What if every copy of every Biblical book were identical, like the text of all copies of The Hobbit are identical? You'd still believe it all. Why?

Actually, I most likely wouldn't If every single copy of every Biblical book were identical, like The Hobbit, I would be infinitely more skeptical than I am now. The fact that they are different points to the organic, human process making copies actually is. If a document as large as the New Testament had zero differences it would raise my alarms more than almost anything else.

So to you differences mean it must be true, and agreement means it must be false. Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire probably has very few differences between versions and is therefore false by your logic. Could I propose a better way of figuring out what is true: seek out facts.

Important to note, this is actually one of the reasons scholars trust the text more, rather than less.

By scholars do you perhaps mean conservative Christian theologians, not mainstream Christian theologians or the theologians of other religions, and not secular historians?

My point was, from a Biblical perspective (again do not love this title lol), we hold that science simply does not have the tools to completely falsify or verify anything outside the natural realm. How could a system created by humans verify/falsify something completely unknowable?

If the supernatural is completely unknowable, why are you claiming to know so much about it?

This makes little sense. Faith has no need of evidence while evidence removes the need for faith. Beliefs based upon observation and analysis are scientific, upon faith religious. Once you claim evidence underlies your beliefs it is no longer faith.

You are working from a specific definition of faith, my friend.

I'm working from the actual definition of faith, the one from the dictionary. In one on-line free dictionary the relevant definition of faith is "belief that is not based on proof." I have a much better hard-copy dictionary. It has a number of definitions related to religion, but most are specific to belief in God and only one is relevant to this discussion in that it is the equivalent of the above on-line definition: "firm or unquestioning belief in something for which there is no proof."

The definition of faith that you're about to advance is not in the dictionary, it isn't even the definition in Young's Bible Dictionary:

There are different types of faith. The type you speak of is blind faith. Blind faith has no need of evidence, it simply believes things willy nilly, without critical thought or intention. Evidenced faith on the other hand, is 1) Faith in the story that 2) Searches critically for evidence that might verify/falsify the story.

Evidenced faith is a contradiction in terms.

In this sense, the scholar who works from a place of evidenced faith utilizes science a great deal!

Another declaration with no evidence.

From archeology, linguistics, carbon dating, to history, the real scholar considers the evidence critically.

Since most of the Biblical focus has been on the gospels, please describe the archeological, linguistical, and dating evidence that supports the gospel stories. I don't mean things like place names such as Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee and so forth. I mean the census, the birth, the Star of Bethlehem, the precocious childhood, and on and on through his ministry and up to his death. Somehow or other Jesus managed to avoid leaving any evidence behind in contemporary historical or archeological records. John the Baptist has a long mention by Josephus and all he did was anger Herod Antipas and lose his head. Jesus led a major religious movement, spoke repeatedly to large throngs, performed numerous miracles, had a public trial and was convicted then crucified, yet escapes all contemporaneous historical notice, the later Christian insertion in Josephus notwithstanding and certainly not what he would have written about Jesus from the perspective of 94 AD.

We are also open to revelation as evidence, for, if the God of the text existed and the story is true, revelation could be counted on as as piece (not the whole) of evidence.

Calling it revelation, revealed truth, is just an excuse for not subjecting it to critical examination.

In summary, you seem to view faith and evidence as mutually exclusive, but I do not think this is true. That is not my kind of faith.

Of course it's not your kind of faith. The actual definition of faith is inconvenient for conservative Christianity, and so it has invented its own.

When you say, "I have faith in God," do you mean evidenced faith? If so, what is that evidence?

Maybe a more accurate one would be "I'm biased towards Republicans, you're biased towards Democrats, and we are both biased because of beliefs we hold about the world and our society."

Science has a well established history of ferreting out what is likely true of the real world. Religion has an even more well established history of changing over time, breaking into sects, inventing new religions, etc. Religion has no record of figuring out anything true about the real world.

Admitting we are all biased allows us to actually be intellectually honest, the very thing Harris says we ought to relentlessly pursue.

You're drawing a false equivalence. The compromise between the truth and a lie is not somewhere in the middle. A meaningful compromise on the stolen election isn't to say that only half as many votes were stolen as originally claimed. You are taking an unevidenced position and demanding it be granted equal status with one that has plenty of evidence. To make up for your lack of evidence you're simply declaring, without evidence, that you do too have evidence, that you have evidenced faith, and that therefore your beliefs represent what is true of reality as much as science. That's baloney.

But really, where we are missing each other, is you do not see the faith gap beneath your worldview, whereas I see my own.

It's usually those promoting flimflam who avoid facts to instead invent their own definitions and talk of world-views and biases.

I own the fact that I believe in an unverifiable story.

If you know the Jesus story is unverifiable, how can your faith in it possibly be evidenced?

On the other hand, you see the scientific method as able to verify/falsify supernatural claims.

Why do you think that? Where have you seen anyone argue that science can study the "completely unknowable" (your term)? What I said was that the argument about whether science can study the supernatural is a rathole that will never be settled. But of course anything apparent to our senses can be studied by science. My example was sightings of the Virgin Mary, since light must be involved.

I do not even think I disagree fully with this, as it pertains to superstitions, as I mentioned earlier.

Interesting. Concerning superstitious beliefs you're on science's side, and I assume concerning the beliefs of all non-Christian beliefs that you're at a minimum agnostic, and concerning Christian beliefs you refuse to allow any indications that it is hooey, just as much as superstition and all the non-Christian religions.

I just see the belief that science has the tools to test unknowable things as a faith assumption. You have no way to verify it, you simply believe it by faith. We'll probably not agree about this though, as you said. Haha.

You said "unknowable" again. Are you not aware of what you're saying, or have you made up your own definition of unknowable, too?

Why would anyone in 30 AD try to debunk stories that didn't exist until decades later.

For the same reasons you, PaulK, and AZPaul do. Lol.

I don't know if the "lol" means you get it and are just making a joke, but just in case let me say it another way. Why aren't you right now debunking false stories about you that won't be written until 2050? The question is rhetorical, intended to help you see the absurdity of what you were proposing.

That aside, I think what I meant was after the stories were written, we have no documents of anyone compiling counter-evidence or any mention of famous rebuttals to the evidence of the resurrection. Why is that? Perhaps they were destroyed by the church? Maybe. But it is interesting to ponder!

You believe the Quran false. Why are there no contemporaneous documents calling out its falsity?

Herodotus made errors. Why do we have no contemporaneous documents containing corrections? Should we consider the lack of such contemporaneous corrections as evidence that cyclopes did exist back then?

Also consider that you can't prove a negative. If someone made up a story that they saw Jesus in Jerusalem a few days after his crucifixion, there can be no evidence that they did not. If someone in 30 AD, say Paul, invented the story of Jesus out of whole cloth while preaching in the Jewish diaspora, who's to contradict him?

If the Quran is fiction, how would it spread as truth with such power and swiftness?

This is good too! Nice. In response, this is the kind of question we should be asking! This is the kind of question we ask in the scholarly community all the time. I do not believe the Quran is all fiction.

Well of course the Quran isn't all fiction. Neither is the Bible. But if Islam spread despite the Quran's falsities, why not Christianity despite the gospel falsities?

Were there eyewitnesses? Or just stories about eyewitnesses?

Indeed, this is an important question to ask.

It's an even more important question to answer, something Christianity is not seriously attempting while at the same time continually arguing, "It must be true, look at all the eyewitnesses."

Why is Islam so compelling that people were and are willing to die for it by the thousands, do anything for it, including flying planes into buildings.

Again, you are making my point for me. These are the crucial questions we should be asking about the power of story, religion, testimony, indoctrination, radicalization, etc.

Again, these are the crucial questions you should be answering. It's as if you believe asking the question is enough.

I never said the work of evidenced faith was black and white or even an easy search.

It does raise questions of how honest you're being with yourself. It should tell you something that everywhere you turn you're confronted with unanswerable foundational questions. "Yes, that's a good question," is only a good answer if offered very occasionally. When it's your stock answer then everything is called into question.

In some ways we are simply grasping at straws, fumbling around in the dark with only scraps of the map trying to see the whole. But the cost is too high. If the story is true, it matters more than any other thing in human history. So we continue to grasp in the dark, asking the hard questions, trusting the stories of those who came before.

You're finally saying something true and honest. Can you base your next sermon on this?

In conclusion, all these questions are not questions that hinder us as we cling to the story of the risen Christ, but rather they are the essential ones to ask to remain intellectually honest.

Either I completely misread your earlier posts, or you have shifted from complete certainty to complete uncertainty.

PS. I think the places where we are missing each other, in how we see the world and in this debate is:

1) The idea that science can verify/falsify all supernatural claims being an unproven faith assumption

I never argued for this point of view, see above.

2) An openness to revelation as a form of epistemology.

Make the case. Rebutting dwise1's quote from Paine's Age of Reason in Message 422 would be a good place to start.

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Fix sig.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 417 by Raphael, posted 05-29-2021 5:31 AM Raphael has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 440 of 479 (886710)
06-01-2021 8:46 AM
Reply to: Message 436 by Phat
05-31-2021 4:56 PM


Re: Context
Are you doing free association?

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 436 by Phat, posted 05-31-2021 4:56 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 441 by Phat, posted 06-01-2021 10:25 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 444 of 479 (886717)
06-01-2021 10:50 AM
Reply to: Message 443 by Phat
06-01-2021 10:34 AM


Re: Context
Phat writes:

Tangle writes:

I really don't know what to say...you're just beyond reason.

Perhaps your understanding needs to grow. Perhaps you need to question your secular reasoning and consider allegory and parables as possible clues to insight.

Why are you responding in a way that only reinforces Tangle's point? You're not coming across as someone one can have a rational discussion with right now.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 443 by Phat, posted 06-01-2021 10:34 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 449 by Phat, posted 06-02-2021 3:40 AM Percy has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 452 of 479 (886733)
06-02-2021 7:00 AM
Reply to: Message 449 by Phat
06-02-2021 3:40 AM


Re: Context
Phat writes:

Percy writes:

Why are you responding in a way that only reinforces Tangle's point? You're not coming across as someone one can have a rational discussion with right now.

Why must all of you be doubters by nature?

There is no doubt you've been speaking nonsense. If your goal is persuasion, drop the daft commentary. People don't usually think, "His crazy talk has convinced me!"

You're descending into irrationalism. I sense something going on in your life, no way to know if it's just your own thinking or if you've experienced some event. You've never had the ability to connect ideas to the real world, but now you seem to have dropped into irrationalism.

Figuring out what is true is not a matter of choosing who to believe or what story to believe. It's a matter of gathering and examining the facts.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 449 by Phat, posted 06-02-2021 3:40 AM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 464 by Phat, posted 06-08-2021 9:56 AM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 459 of 479 (886746)
06-03-2021 3:51 PM
Reply to: Message 458 by Phat
06-03-2021 9:04 AM


Re: DSA & Global Finance. A Real Concern
Phat writes:

Won't the wealthy simply take their assets and move to a place of safety? Since they pay the majority of our taxes already, wont that hurt our nation in a practical sense?

The top 1% of income earners pay 38% of all taxes, but that represents only 26.8% of their income. Your average 1%-er who nets a million dollars annually pays $268,000 in taxes, but the 1%-ers get to take advantage of all kinds advantageous tax breaks and loopholes. That million dollar net could easily have been a couple or three million dollars gross.

Let's do a comparison. The average wage earner gets to take the standard deduction, around $25,000 for a married couple. If together they earn $100,000 then after the standard deduction their taxable income is already down to $75,000. Sounds pretty good, right?

But s 1%-er taking advantage of lucrative tax breaks and loopholes might earn $3 million but pay taxes on only $1 million. He's paying 26.8% of his net million dollar income, but only 8.9% of the $3 million gross income. He's not paying taxes on $2 million of his income. That's, in effect, a $2 million dollar tax deduction. How do you feel about that $25,000 standard deduction now?

Corporations get their own tax breaks. Here's a list of 55 large corporations that paid no taxes last year, among them FedEx, Hewlett-Packard and Nike.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 458 by Phat, posted 06-03-2021 9:04 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 463 of 479 (886751)
06-05-2021 7:44 AM
Reply to: Message 461 by Phat
06-04-2021 4:04 PM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
Not even wrong.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 461 by Phat, posted 06-04-2021 4:04 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 471 of 479 (888592)
09-22-2021 12:53 PM
Reply to: Message 469 by Phat
09-21-2021 4:02 PM


Re: Creator Of All Seen & Unseen
Phat writes:

Maybe you should explain why the "real" definition is real. Maybe you should then elaborate.

Let's analyze this sentence. The first word is "maybe." What does maybe mean? Does maybe mean maybe, or is maybe maybe not the real definition of maybe but maybe something else?

Or maybe you're a very sick puppy. What was your blood sugar yesterday? Did your routine include exercise? How much sugar and carbohydrates were in your diet? If you've had your A1C checked recently, what was it?

You don't need to answer these questions. I'm just reminding you where your main focus should be. Happy birthday, but let's make sure there's another one.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 469 by Phat, posted 09-21-2021 4:02 PM Phat has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 475 by Phat, posted 09-23-2021 8:27 AM Percy has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 474 of 479 (888604)
09-23-2021 8:06 AM
Reply to: Message 473 by PaulK
09-23-2021 2:46 AM


Re: Tel El Hammam
Just to give you some feedback, this looked fishy to me from the start. I spent five minutes or so trying to find things wrong with it but only found that a couple authors had conservative religious connections. Thanks for providing these Twitter links.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 473 by PaulK, posted 09-23-2021 2:46 AM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 479 by PaulK, posted 09-23-2021 4:01 PM Percy has acknowledged this reply

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20283
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.1


(1)
Message 478 of 479 (888610)
09-23-2021 1:33 PM
Reply to: Message 475 by Phat
09-23-2021 8:27 AM


Re: Creator Of All Seen & Unseen
Phat writes:

I woke up with moderate blood sugar (188) but realize that it is high overall and needs to be lower.

Morning blood sugar is usually resting blood sugar, meaning you haven't eaten all night. If you didn't eat during the night then 188 is such an incredibly high blood sugar that either you are completely mismanaging your diabetes, or your doctor is not providing the proper medications/dosages, or your doctor is not instructing you properly in the management of your diabetes, or some combination. Meanwhile, you're slowing dying.

By the time people start trying to scare you into taking care of yourself by telling you you'll be dead in a couple years it's usually already too late. You're locked into a deadly behavior pattern that time has proven you're unable to break free of. Start saying goodbye to your other toes and then your feet and then your lower legs and then yourself.

Do you have a will?

--Percy

Edited by Percy, : Typo.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 475 by Phat, posted 09-23-2021 8:27 AM Phat has not yet responded

  
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