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Author Topic:   Anti-theist
Phat
Member
Posts: 15642
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003


(1)
Message 406 of 479 (886616)
05-27-2021 1:58 AM
Reply to: Message 404 by anglagard
05-26-2021 9:58 PM


Re: Point Taken
I just watched that video on Christianity and the summation of its history.
Based on what I've read and on my own common sense (intuition?) I agree largely with the conclusion of the author/creator. The Schism was well represented as was the politicization of the church. I am not simply an ignorant fundamentalist. (Though I can be a charismaniac at times )

I feel that the facts of history tend to support the concept of human sin, greed, and lust for power and control. The video pointed out the ongoing disagreements between different sects of Christianity.

The author says that if we assume we can learn from each other, it is more helpful than being autocratic and rigid. In our ongoing disagreement between conservatism and liberalism, I may someday find that the liberals, though seemingly indifferent to organized religion and spiritual absolutes will later prove to be the vessel through whom Christianity is preserved rather than slandered. Conversely, the conservatives who outwardly profess the authoritarian values of absolute truth will be found to be slandering it and making their own religion up. You never know.

(Im watching the Judaism video now)

transcript 07:11 writes:

For the most part, the Islamic empires were pretty good about tolerance,

so long as they were "people of the book," so to speak, and not pagans.
This worked out well, because Judaism, unlike Medieval Christianity,
had no problem being just one religion in the mix.

. This guy is pretty good with his humor combined loosely with historical facts. I'm enjoying these videos.

Edited by Phat, : added jabberwocky


"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
***
“…far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise itself is validated by his existence.”- Dr.John Lennox

“The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a 'what' created the universe; the theist believes a 'who' created the universe.”
- Criss Jami, Killo

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” — Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You
(1894).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 404 by anglagard, posted 05-26-2021 9:58 PM anglagard has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 408 by ringo, posted 05-27-2021 10:26 AM Phat has not yet responded
 Message 409 by dwise1, posted 05-27-2021 12:46 PM Phat has acknowledged this reply
 Message 423 by anglagard, posted 05-29-2021 11:16 PM Phat has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8207
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


Message 407 of 479 (886617)
05-27-2021 2:46 AM
Reply to: Message 401 by Raphael
05-26-2021 6:51 PM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
I love your work Raphael -

First, flatter the opponent's argument, second, muddy the water while changing the subject and third, form your “meh” conclusion based on the changed subject.

Neat, but just rhetoric.

The central argument is not 'hermeneutical breadth' - a laughable concept in itself, indicating that believers can't decide what to believe - and it doesn't matter what the central claim of Islam or Christianity is, or even if there is one. The argument is what Harris says it is, that Christians are not in the least worried that Muslims believe that they are going to hell for believing the wrong thing.

That should demonstrate something pretty significant - that others hold beliefs just as strongly as you do that have devastating consequences if they're correct. Yet neither side cares. And that is what both sides - in fact all sides - look like to an atheist.

People inside can not see out because their curtains are closed.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 401 by Raphael, posted 05-26-2021 6:51 PM Raphael has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 19251
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.9


Message 408 of 479 (886618)
05-27-2021 10:26 AM
Reply to: Message 406 by Phat
05-27-2021 1:58 AM


Re: Point Taken
Phat writes:

I agree largely with the conclusion of the author/creator.


See? You do know what a creator is.

"I've been to Moose Jaw, now I can die." -- John Wing

This message is a reply to:
 Message 406 by Phat, posted 05-27-2021 1:58 AM Phat has not yet responded

  
dwise1
Member
Posts: 4715
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 4.7


(1)
Message 409 of 479 (886619)
05-27-2021 12:46 PM
Reply to: Message 406 by Phat
05-27-2021 1:58 AM


Re: Point Taken
transcript 07:11 writes:

This worked out well, because Judaism, unlike Medieval Christianity, had no problem being just one religion in the mix.

In World Religions class (c. 1970) I learned a new word, "henotheism", and how it differs from monotheism. Or is an intersection of polytheism and monotheism.

Polytheism is believes that there are multiple gods while monotheism believes that there is only one god. Henotheism believes that although there are multiple gods you have faith in and follow and worship only one god.

The situation described at the end of the Exodus is of a nomadic settling down to become farmers. Naturally, with everything that they needed to learn to make that transition, they would have sought to learn those skills from the people already there. And naturally, part of those skills would involve learning what gods were in charge of what and how to make the appropriate sacrifices to those resident gods.

As the story goes, that set up a conflict between YHWH with whom they were already under a henotheistic covenant and these other resident agricultural gods. Most of us have heard how that story plays out.

What I'm not sure of is the history of how Judaism evolved from henotheism to monotheism or even to what extent it has done so. It may also suggest that there are a number of "flavors" of monotheism just as there are of polytheism. Perhaps even a view of a polytheism-henotheism-monotheism spectrum.

Henotheism was a hot-button topic

There's monotheism


This message is a reply to:
 Message 406 by Phat, posted 05-27-2021 1:58 AM Phat has acknowledged this reply

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17008
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 410 of 479 (886620)
05-27-2021 12:49 PM
Reply to: Message 403 by Raphael
05-26-2021 9:42 PM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
With regard to canonisation, I’ll comment that the process should not be very reassuring to anyone that wants the Bible to be accurate. The concern with the orthodoxy of the time would lead to reinforcement of that orthodoxy by discarding sources with differing views and for all the concern with authorship they got it quite wrong on a number of occasions.

With regard to miracles I’ll say more.

quote:
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

Science can show that the alleged miracle did not occur which would be a falsification. I myself was involved in a discussion here which showed that an alleged prophecy made by a present day preacher was not the miracle it was claimed to be. We might also mention the example of “weeping” statues which may turn out to have purely mundane explanations. Even where that is impossible science may show that there are alternative explanations that do not involve anything supernatural.

quote:
Have you examined your historical method bias and recognized it is built upon a faith assumption?

Is it? Skepticism about miracle claims seems rational. Miracle claims are not uncommon. Actual miracles seem to be vanishingly rare.

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

That would be more convincing if we had any contemporary account of the events. Or even neutral accounts as close in time as the Gospels. The more so since it seems that some of the miracle stories are likely derived from Jewish scripture rather than events in Jesus ministry. When would these alleged debunkers have heard the stories? what evidence would they be able to obtain at that time? and if they did debunk the story would their reports have survived to the present day?

quote:
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? Surely at least one alleged eyewitness would admit the truth that they made it up, such as what happened with the Manson Family (eventually his followers gave up & turned themselves in).

That would surely depend on how the story originated. If it started as the mistaken (but appealing) idea that Jesus was somehow still alive. If his followers thought they saw Jesus in crowds or in dreams and believed he was still alive they would not have been consciously inventing a fiction. And if the story got elaborated over they following years and decades (as it did) there would be no point where it can be said that it was “all made up”. And we know that completely fictitious stories such as “NASA’s missing day” or “the Angels of Mons” can spread with rapidity and be taken for fact.

quote:
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?

I very much doubt that anyone in a position to know the truth of the story died for it. Perhaps you can show otherwise. Those who were not in such a position might die for their belief in it (though I doubt that it was ever that simple) - but obviously that has nothing to do with the truth of the story.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 403 by Raphael, posted 05-26-2021 9:42 PM Raphael has not yet responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20325
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.0


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: 20325
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.0


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

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 15642
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003


Message 413 of 479 (886626)
05-28-2021 10:01 AM
Reply to: Message 412 by Percy
05-28-2021 9:21 AM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
Percy, replying to Raphael writes:

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?

Its all about perspective. It is how we are raised, what we take in from our environment, and what we feel comfortable with in a given worldview (or Belief). I could well ask you(Percy) what the world would be like if every human were identical in thought and belief. What if we all practiced altruism and empathy for others...focusing first on the least fortunate among us? Stile put it well in another post:
Stile writes:

If love had a being, I would follow it/him/her/they (because I follow love.)
If a Divine Being existed, and it embodies love, then I think we should all want more of this Diving Being in my life (because I want more love in all lives.)

But if I already follow love, and a being happens to exist that embodies that love... nothing about my life would change.
I would already be following that Divine Being, without even knowing it, just by following love.

Raphael likely experienced a lot of love and support from his upbringing yet was challenged through his friends and later church and academic community. His perspective is different than one who experienced hate, intolerance, or divisiveness caused at least in part through organized religion.

"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
***
“…far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise itself is validated by his existence.”- Dr.John Lennox

“The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a 'what' created the universe; the theist believes a 'who' created the universe.”
- Criss Jami, Killo

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” — Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You
(1894).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 412 by Percy, posted 05-28-2021 9:21 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 414 by Percy, posted 05-28-2021 11:05 AM Phat has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 20325
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.0


(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

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 15642
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003


Message 415 of 479 (886634)
05-28-2021 2:44 PM
Reply to: Message 414 by Percy
05-28-2021 11:05 AM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
I hope that I do. I realize that I cant defend the supernatural as a fact.
I believe very strongly that it is, though I acknowledge that it is technically a belief absent objective evidence.

I plan on starting a Great Debate with Raphael. Can you approve it? I started it in the Great Debate topic and I came up as AdminPhat...and since I can't promote my own topic...

There are rumors that Elvis is alive just as there are many Believers who claim that Jesus is alive. We don't hear as much from the mainstream regarding Elvis as we do concerning Jesus. Granted His resurrection was bodily and the Holy Spirit fills in for Him until He returns Bodily, according to the claims of many Christians.

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


"A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." ~Mark Twain "
***
“…far from science having buried God, not only do the results of science point towards his existence, but the scientific enterprise itself is validated by his existence.”- Dr.John Lennox

“The whole war between the atheist and the theist comes down to this: the atheist believes a 'what' created the universe; the theist believes a 'who' created the universe.”
- Criss Jami, Killo

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.” — Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You
(1894).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 414 by Percy, posted 05-28-2021 11:05 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 420 by Percy, posted 05-29-2021 8:53 AM Phat has responded

  
Raphael
Member
Posts: 171
From: Southern California, United States
Joined: 09-29-2007


Message 416 of 479 (886644)
05-29-2021 4:14 AM
Reply to: Message 411 by Percy
05-27-2021 4:03 PM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
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, and I think it is a valuable mental exercise. However you're good at this, Percy . 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. 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. 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 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. 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!

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.

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.

I recognize Harris does indeed take that view. However I was doing my best to respond simply to the arguments made in the video. I see, though, where his view and mine fundamentally break so, as you said, to argue about hermeneutical diversity is irrelevant to him.

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. 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.

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.

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.

For sure, agree with you here. My point was, the idea of a spectrum of meaning is common. 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.

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.

Sure, but I'm not doing that. I'm not even talking about that. I brought this up to point to the fact that there is diversity in the way the scientific community interprets data.

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 effect oneself. In response, I say, one ought to have done the work to understand the core message of said religion before critiquing its implications.

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 . I understand his argument, I even said it was compelling in its own way. However I do not think he views this as his strongest reason against religion. 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? Its intellectually lazy.

Regards!

- Raph

Edited by Raphael, : cleanup

Edited by Raphael, : cleanup #2


This message is a reply to:
 Message 411 by Percy, posted 05-27-2021 4:03 PM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 426 by Percy, posted 05-30-2021 1:36 PM Raphael has not yet responded

  
Raphael
Member
Posts: 171
From: Southern California, United States
Joined: 09-29-2007


(1)
Message 417 of 479 (886645)
05-29-2021 5:31 AM
Reply to: Message 412 by Percy
05-28-2021 9:21 AM


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.

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.

I will agree that religion, Christianity in particular, is an optimistic faith. At the core, we trust the stories of those who have come before to be true. 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?"

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.

True! My bad, I did miss this one, apologies. In response, this is another example of selective framing. The fact that the gospels were written decades after Jesus' life is critical evidence for their accuracy not the other way around. There would be people alive who could verify the truth of the events. Most documents from the time period have hundreds of years between the event and the account or earliest known copy.

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. 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. In the end, it is a faith decision we are all presented with. This doesn't mean we don't think critically. 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. Why was this so significant for you? If it didn't happen, why would you, and every other eyewitness die saying it did? 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?

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.

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

The whole subject is a rathole. We'll never agree whether science can study the supernatural.

Agree with you here. And I actually agree with what you said about light and the virgin Mary. Science certainly is able to study things that can help us discern parts of pieces of truth, and is helpful in rebutting superstitions with natural causes, for example.

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?

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. 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. In this sense, the scholar who works from a place of evidenced faith utilizes science a great deal! From archeology, linguistics, carbon dating, to history, the real scholar considers the evidence critically. 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.

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.

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.

This is good! Solid argument . Nice. I see this is not your first rodeo. Haha. In response, I accept it in theory, but wouldn't accept that argument here, because I think it is a slightly skewed representation of what we are talking about. 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."

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

But really, where we are missing each other, is you do not see the faith gap beneath your worldview, whereas I see my own. I own the fact that I believe in an unverifiable story.

On the other hand, you see the scientific method as able to verify/falsify supernatural claims. I do not even think I disagree fully with this, as it pertains to superstitions, as I mentioned earlier. 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.

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. 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!

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. I am also no Quran expert, but the studies I have done lead us to recognize how heavily the Quran borrows from Biblical stories, concepts, and ideas. It is full of borrowed stories and altered narratives. It was written 6-700 years after The New Testament, after all. Combine that with the power of a strong figurehead in Muhammad, and it makes a lot of sense culturally! But this question is really important. I do not fully dismiss its value for humanity, as it is a cousin to my faith tradition, afterall.

Were there eyewitnesses? Or just stories about eyewitnesses?

Indeed, this is an important question to ask. There are many stories about eyewitnesses, and almost none from eyewitnesses themselves. Father Papias tells us Mark is the eyewitness account of Peter. Luke is not an eyewitness, but he claims to have done really crucial investigative and compilation work with his letter (Luke-Acts), and interviewing of eyewitnesses. These are crucial questions scholars ask though!

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

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.

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

- Raph

Edited by Raphael, : cleanup!

Edited by Raphael, : cleanup #2

Edited by Raphael, : One more

Edited by Raphael, : Y’all know the drill


This message is a reply to:
 Message 412 by Percy, posted 05-28-2021 9:21 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 418 by PaulK, posted 05-29-2021 6:10 AM Raphael has not yet responded
 Message 419 by Tangle, posted 05-29-2021 7:27 AM Raphael has not yet responded
 Message 427 by Percy, posted 05-30-2021 9:16 PM Raphael has not yet responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17008
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 418 of 479 (886646)
05-29-2021 6:10 AM
Reply to: Message 417 by Raphael
05-29-2021 5:31 AM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
quote:
True! My bad, I did miss this one, apologies. In response, this is another example of selective framing. The fact that the gospels were written decades after Jesus' life is critical evidence for their accuracy not the other way around. There would be people alive who could verify the truth of the events. Most documents from the time period have hundreds of years between the event and the account or earliest known copy.

You’re already slipping into apologetics. The time span between the events and the earliest known copy is rather different from the time span between the events and the writing. We do have documents written about the time of the events - such as Caesar’s Gallic Wars and, while writing later, Josephus was a participant in the Jewish War he wrote of.

The decades would have thinned out the available witnesses and allowed stories to develop (as they certainly did). Also we must consider sources and bias and the Gospels score poorly on both - never identifying their sources and obviously biased. As for checking with the surviving witnesses how would you explain the differences between the Gospels of Matthew and Luke?

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

I believe you misread Percy’s question. None of us are trying to debunk stories that will appear 30 years from now.

quote:
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?

We know that the writings of Celsus and Porphyry were banned by Christian Emperors and are lost to us, save for those parts preserved in the counter-arguments produced by Christian writers. Moreover, we know that Christianity was too obscure to be immediately debunked by Roman or Greek authors. But we don’t know that the earliest resurrection stories went much beyond the list of appearances we find in 1 Corinthians which would be hard to debunk for lack of content (much like the supposed sightings of Elvis Presley).

quote:
Indeed, this is an important question to ask. There are many stories about eyewitnesses, and almost none from eyewitnesses themselves. Father Papias tells us Mark is the eyewitness account of Peter. Luke is not an eyewitness, but he claims to have done really crucial investigative and compilation work with his letter (Luke-Acts), and interviewing of eyewitnesses.

It’s not clear that Papias claims that Mark was compiled with Peter’s knowledge let alone assistance. The author’s memories of Peter’s stories would not qualify as an eyewitness account - for that it would have to be more directly from Peter. Luke’s claims are less than clear about who he consulted or what sources he use - and apparently could be boilerplate.

quote:
1) The idea that science can verify/falsify all supernatural claims is a faith gap
2) An openness to revelation as a form of epistemology.

The problem with revelation as epistemology is that it’s private. Believing in claimed revelations is quite different from actually having a revelation.


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

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 8207
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.7


(1)
Message 419 of 479 (886647)
05-29-2021 7:27 AM
Reply to: Message 417 by Raphael
05-29-2021 5:31 AM


Re: Elvis has left the building.
Raphael writes:

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

That's at least honest.

The problem with it though is that those that came before were highly superstitious, primitive people, full of magical thinking and story telling, myth making and whacky beliefs. As an oral tradition, it has all of the veracity of a game of telephone.

All that is known is written in your book and all of it is hearsay written decades after the supposed events by unknown authors - none of which are witnesses - then redacted and edited for political reasons. There is absolutely nothing there that can be relied on or confirmed by secondary evidence.

It's a very odd thing to base your life on - those stories not only can't be trusted, they don't deserve to be.

Edited by Tangle, : No reason given.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London.I am Finland. Soy Barcelona

"Life, don't talk to me about life" - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


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

Replies to this message:
 Message 421 by dwise1, posted 05-29-2021 11:36 AM Tangle has not yet responded
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Percy
Member
Posts: 20325
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 4.0


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

  
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