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Author Topic: Where the heck is Pi and Yippie?  (Read 3654 times)
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Jeff G
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« Reply #45 on: February 13, 2016, 12:38:12 PM »

You say I am making assumptions but anyone can see what you're doing here.  It's not something I have to prove because it is so obvious.  Why you would say I am dangerous to others is a strange thing to say.  The thing you find dangerous about me is that I dare to disagree with you.

You still don't get it. I didn't say: prove it. I said: how could you possibly know the things you claim to know about me (as mentioned above)? It would be impossible, unless either I told you, or you were monitoring me 24/7. Still, you would have to know my actual thoughts on a few things, which entails reading my mind.

What I said was: You are potentially dangerous. It is truly strange watching some of your angry outbursts and personal insults directed at those who simply disagree with you.

Quote
The one with the ego here is you, Jeff.  You think your brand of truth is the only acceptable one.  I don't take issue with the fact that you disagree.  I take issue with the fact that you tried to make me an accomplice in your self deception.  That's not something I am willing to do.

You have made many erroneous assumptions about me.  I don't think you're a sad little man, I just think you're really struggling with some important questions and it has made you angry.  You want to lash out at someone.  If that's me, so be it. 

I'm quite used to you talking about God.  And only God.  That's really all you bring to the table here.  I have answered your questions, you just don't like my answers.  The logical error you're committing here is an ad hominem.  I've already explained it to you, but even now you haven't addressed it directly.

Jeff, it's a good thing to be a person of faith.  I am generally suspicious of people who think they are the largest thing in the universe.  I think there is something out there, but I am not convinced it is the God you worship.  I'm glad that you feel you have found your answers.  But something is disturbing to you and it isn't just me.

I know you're disappointed that I wasn't willing to help you by agreeing with your position.  I can't refute the existence of God.  There's simply no way to prove that God does not exist.  Any first year college freshman learns that in their first elective.  The answers that I favor are not the ones you favor. 

You claimed that if I don't believe as you do, then I am damned.  You've actually did attack rationality.  If you had really slowed down to read what I wrote, which in your anger I seriously doubt you did, you would have eventually realized that I've read the same books you have.  I've probably read a lot more than you.  If you're going to ask me for an opinion, and in some instances badger me, then you also have to be adult enough if I don't say exactly what you want to hear.

Call me whatever you want.  Say whatever you want.  But the path to God, based on all I was taught in 20 years of attending a Baptist church every Sunday, is not through reason, but through faith.  You keep wanting to argue with me about that, but you're at odds with the Bible on that point. 

That's why I say you have a crisis of faith.  What you believe so vehemently does not square with what the Bible tells us.  I'm not saying that Christians can't be logical.  What I'm saying is that while it isn't necessary to abandon reason, it is faith in God that leads to salvation.

Pi,

The problem I continually encounter revolve around trying to clarify or correct erroneous assumptions and generalizations about the Christian faith. As I've said elsewhere in this forum, I have addressed many of these issues nearly 20 years ago (being a militant atheist up to that point), therefore, I know extremely well the arguments posed by folks such as yourself. Furthermore, people have a tendency to believe one of more of the following generalizations:

1. Christians are not very intellectual and are often anti-intellectual.
2. The exceptional “intellectual” Christian has, of necessity, adroitly compartmentalized his or her intellect and his or her faith so that never the twain shall meet.
3. Anyone who claims to have “the truth” (as Christians do) obviously doesn’t.
4. The scientific evidence for evolution has rendered a Creator God superfluous.
5. The philosophical arguments for the existence of God were proven long ago to be false and invalid.
6. Even if God does exist, the evidence for his existence is not convincing and certainly not sufficient to compel religious obedience or justify eternal damnation for nonbelief.
7. The Christian faith, as with all religions, is irrational or at best nonrational.
8. Scientists and historians have proven that the Bible is full of myths and errors.
9. Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God but was mistakenly declared to be such by his followers.

These particular generalizations do not provide a handle on the truth. They provide more of a grip upon a shield. Although such a shield is useful in warding off unappealing claims and propositions, they are not based in fact or on critical reasoning. They are simply not true. Damage has been done from faulty misunderstanding and faulty generalizations of the Christian faith (Yes, FAITH). Hardly anyone, including yourself, is willing to investigate these claims with an open mind. People claim to already have it figured out when it can be demonstrated, if and when someone seeks a handle on truth, that these and other commonly held beliefs about Christians and Christianity are false. I'm sorry you don't understand the importance of the work in trying to correct many of the falsehoods that exist.

Those who have never experienced it will find religious faith difficult to believe. I understand that, but I assure you it is quite real.

Imagine that you have been called for jury duty. You believe it is your responsibility as a thinking person to serve. To serve as a juror you must promise, under oath, that you will keep an open mind and weigh the evidence set before you. Though you may be skeptical, can you nonetheless promise that you will keep an open mind, hear the evidence, weigh it, and make a fair and honest decision? If your mind is closed, and if you have determined beforehand that no amount of evidence or expert testimony will change your mind, be advised that the law allows a trial attorney to have you removed from the jury panel.

We Christians do not claim to have all the answers. But we have more than enough to show that our faith in an omnipotent, omniscient, holy, and loving Creator God, who bridged the gap between himself and humankind in the person of Jesus Christ, is not only reasonable but is, in fact, the most intellectually and existentially coherent option among all others. Christianity is both sensible to the head and satisfying to the heart. I have tried to show this countless times over the years I've been posting on this forum (2008-2009?).

It can be shown there are sufficient, and sound reasons to hold to each of the following:

Why I am not a moral relativist.

Why I believe truth is real and knowable.

Why I am no longer an atheist.

Why I believe God exists.

Why I believe the God of the Bible is the one true God.

Why I believe in the possibility of miracles.

Why I believe the miracles of Jesus actually happened.

Why I believe in Divine Creation.

Why I believe the New Testament is historically reliable.

Why I believe the Bible is scientifically reliable.

Why I believe the Bible alone is the Word of God.

Why I believe Jesus is the promised Messiah.

Why I believe Jesus is the Son of God.

Why I still believe in Christ in spite of all the evil and suffering.

Why I have made Jesus Christ Lord of my life.

Why I believe Jesus is the ultimate source for meaning.

Quote
Do you think someone operating on Pascal's Wager as a basis for their faith will go to heaven?  The Bible I read says no.  Think about it Jeff.  Don't simply get angry.  Stop and think about what I'm saying here before you lose your mind again.

I'm not quite sure what you think Pascal's Wager is about, but it seems you are missing the point.

Blaise Pascal didn't say he was wagering his belief. He was essentially saying that there are two tests for belief: the empirical test (based on investigation), and the existential test (based on personal experience). By denying the existence of God, the atheist leaves himself just one option in his pursuit of happiness and purpose, namely, the existential test of self-fulfillment.

For the believer in God and the follower of Jesus, there is more than the existential test, which is subject to circumstance and condition. We also have the empirical test of the person, teaching, and work of Jesus Christ. Atheists may respond by saying there is an empirical test for the naturalist as well, one who believes in matter alone. But on issues of morality and meaning they have nothing to look to for a moral framework beyond themselves, and if their assumptions are true, the existential arena is the only legitimate route for the pursuit for meaning. Pascal was declaring that if the existential test for finding meaning in life was the only option left to him, the hungers of his heart had been met in following Jesus and thus he was fulfilled. In a worst case scenario, where the atheist is right and death is oblivion, Pascal had still met the only test the atheist has for belief and found his relationship with Jesus fulfilling. As a Christian, he met both of his own test for truth in the person of Jesus (the empirical test), and the existential test posed by the atheist. It was for that reason he could say he could not be a loser, and the gamble was not a gamble he could lose, no matter which test he used.

If you want, the last word here is all yours.
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Pi
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« Reply #46 on: February 15, 2016, 12:56:36 PM »

You say I am making assumptions but anyone can see what you're doing here.  It's not something I have to prove because it is so obvious.  Why you would say I am dangerous to others is a strange thing to say.  The thing you find dangerous about me is that I dare to disagree with you.


You still don't get it. I didn't say: prove it. I said: how could you possibly know the things you claim to know about me (as mentioned above)? It would be impossible, unless either I told you, or you were monitoring me 24/7. Still, you would have to know my actual thoughts on a few things, which entails reading my mind.


It isn't necessary to read your mind.  You type giant walls of text on here, and yet you think that gives us nothing to go on?  Think about that for a minute.

What I said was: You are potentially dangerous. It is truly strange watching some of your angry outbursts and personal insults directed at those who simply disagree with you.


I think you might have mental problems, Jeff.  Do mentally ill people have the potential to be dangerous?  I think so.  Consider the feeling mutual.



Pi,

The problem I continually encounter revolve around trying to clarify or correct erroneous assumptions and generalizations about the Christian faith. As I've said elsewhere in this forum, I have addressed many of these issues nearly 20 years ago (being a militant atheist up to that point), therefore, I know extremely well the arguments posed by folks such as yourself. Furthermore, people have a tendency to believe one of more of the following generalizations:


Do not lump me in with atheists.  I've NEVER been a militant atheist.  I'm agnostic.  You've done an extremely poor job of understanding what I've written.


1. Christians are not very intellectual and are often anti-intellectual.


That's not true.  As evidence of the fact that you do not pay attention to what I write, here's a quote from me

http://chatham-county-nc.com/bulletinboard/index.php/topic,32926.msg293710.html#msg293710

It is my opinion that many religious people are very insistent that they can logically prove that their faith in God is justified for a very simple reason.  Many progressives and those on the left have used one's faith in God as a means of disregarding everything they say.  The atheists would say that if one is willing to buy into the grand delusion that there is a God, one cannot trust their analysis on anything else.

I do not believe that to be the case.  Some of the most brilliant people I know are people who believe in God.  They are engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, doctors, etc.  To me, the answers to the unprovables, such as the meaning of life, and whether or not there is a God, is a separate thought process from every other subject.  People can be coldly analytical, but quite emotional when it comes to discussions of what happens when we die.  There's nothing wrong with that.  It is therefore wrong for an atheist to disregard all arguments from a person of faith.  One wonders if every atheist out there asks every doctor, mechanic, dentist, etc. if they believe in God before they take their advice.  Most of the machinations of atheists seem to me to be all about garnering attention and feeling intellectually superior.  Their feelings of superiority are misplaced more often than not.

So I can see where a person of faith might be inclined to be defensive.  It is absolutely true that people of faith have been targeted.



2. The exceptional “intellectual” Christian has, of necessity, adroitly compartmentalized his or her intellect and his or her faith so that never the twain shall meet.


Nope, I don't believe that to be true.  What I have said is that the Bible says that the path to salvation depends on faith in God.  It is through faith, not cold calculation, that ultimately saves the soul.  I have never said that one has to completely abandon all logic if they are a Christian.  How else would all those engineers and scientists operate on a day to day basis if they did such a thing?

3. Anyone who claims to have “the truth” (as Christians do) obviously doesn’t.


Sure they have their truth.  I've said repeatedly that you have found your truth and there's nothing wrong with that.

4. The scientific evidence for evolution has rendered a Creator God superfluous.


I'm not sure I agree with that statement either.  When we look back through history at the course of science, if we can deduce anything at all, it's that a consensus does not equate to correctness.  Besides, God is judgment at the end of life, and life after death.  How can faith really be superfluous?

5. The philosophical arguments for the existence of God were proven long ago to be false and invalid.


The arguments for and against the existence of God have been disputed for a very long time.  Though the arguments are old and stale, and there's very little, if anything, new to add to them, it doesn't make any of those arguments less valid.  St. Augustine, Aquinas, et al still have many salient points.  It comes down to this important fact: it is impossible to prove that God doesn't exist.  As long as that remains true (and it always will) then old philosophical arguments cannot be said to all be false and invalid.


6. Even if God does exist, the evidence for his existence is not convincing and certainly not sufficient to compel religious obedience or justify eternal damnation for nonbelief.


That's kind of a mixed up statement you've got there.  If He does exist, then there's the compelling reason to believe.  But let's take off the first part of what you said.  The "evidence" is convincing for many people.  But not everyone.  As far as eternal damnation, I've already said I find that a disproportionate punishment for actions in a lifetime that is nothing more than a blink of an eye of eternity.

7. The Christian faith, as with all religions, is irrational or at best nonrational.


You might rationalize your belief in God, sure.  But according to the Bible, that's not what God wants from you.  God wants your faith in Him.

8. Scientists and historians have proven that the Bible is full of myths and errors.


Yes, on this one I agree.

9. Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God but was mistakenly declared to be such by his followers.


According to all nine Bibles I have on the bookshelf in this one room, Jesus was the Son of God.  I grew up Southern Baptist, not Jewish.


These particular generalizations do not provide a handle on the truth. They provide more of a grip upon a shield. Although such a shield is useful in warding off unappealing claims and propositions, they are not based in fact or on critical reasoning. They are simply not true. Damage has been done from faulty misunderstanding and faulty generalizations of the Christian faith (Yes, FAITH).


Speaking of faulty misunderstanding and faulty generalizations, look back at your list above.  You've got me wrong, Jeff, because you don't read what I write closely.  You were way off representing my opinions with the list above.

Hardly anyone, including yourself, is willing to investigate these claims with an open mind.


It's funny how wrong you are about that.  You have no idea how much I've thought about this topic.  It should clue you in that I have read many of the works of philosophy and can tell you what each of those philosophers argued.  I can describe the merits of each argument, the strengths and weaknesses of each.  If after all of this, you think I've not done my homework, then you've displaying a hell of a lot of willful ignorance.

Jeff, lots of people look for the answers.  The issue here is that you can't stand it when someone else comes to a different conclusion than you.  I'm not saying that your faith is bad.  Your want tolerance for Christian views but aren't willing to extent tolerance for people like me that might think differently. 

You get what you give, Jeff.  When you plant corn, you get corn.

People claim to already have it figured out when it can be demonstrated, if and when someone seeks a handle on truth, that these and other commonly held beliefs about Christians and Christianity are false. I'm sorry you don't understand the importance of the work in trying to correct many of the falsehoods that exist.


I think it is laudable that you are trying to correct so many misconceptions about Christians, especially the claim that they are unintelligent.  I once again direct you to my quote above.

We Christians do not claim to have all the answers. But we have more than enough to show that our faith in an omnipotent, omniscient, holy, and loving Creator God, who bridged the gap between himself and humankind in the person of Jesus Christ, is not only reasonable but is, in fact, the most intellectually and existentially coherent option among all others.


No, I don't agree with that.  In one breath you say you aren't claiming to have all the answers, but in the other you're saying your answer is superior to all others.  It is your opinion that your answer is the most intellectually and existentially coherent option.  Unless you're comparing yourself to other religious faiths.  You might have a point there. 

I think the most intellectually coherent theory is that when we die, there's nothing beyond that.  Humans have such a fear of death they often need to find ways of coping with it.  I think many religions give people the answers they need to go on with life and be functional without the constant fear of death.  The idea that there is a final reckoning, where all wrongs are set right, is also an appealing aspect to many religions.

Christianity is both sensible to the head and satisfying to the heart. I have tried to show this countless times over the years I've been posting on this forum (2008-2009?).


That's your opinion and I think stands true for a lot of people.

It can be shown there are sufficient, and sound reasons to hold to each of the following:

Why I believe...all this stuff


I don't agree that's true for everything on your list.  But if you do, and that makes you happy, then that's good for you.  No sarcasm here.  I really mean that.

I'm not quite sure what you think Pascal's Wager is about, but it seems you are missing the point.


Pascal's Wager is what it is.  I don't think you understand it, otherwise you wouldn't have missed my point no less than three different times.  If you don't know what it is, then at least Google it.  Or simply be honest enough to admit you don't know.  Pascal's Wager is based on the idea (copied from Wiki):

   1.  God is, or God is not. Reason cannot decide between the two alternatives.
   2. A Game is being played... where heads or tails will turn up.
   3. You must wager (it is not optional).
   4. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
    Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (...) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.
   5. But some cannot believe. They should then 'at least learn your inability to believe...' and 'Endeavour then to convince' themselves.


In other words, Pascal is saying that the eternal consequences of not believing are so horrible, it is better to believe.  If you read the rest of his thoughts on the topic, he also concedes that the odds of this eternal punishment might be small.  But the consequences are so dire, one should not risk it and should (if possible) believe in God.

This argument for believing in God has nothing to do with faith.  It is just a calculation based on fear of possible consequence.  That's the point I was making, that you missed several times.


Blaise Pascal didn't say he was wagering his belief. He was essentially saying that there are two tests for belief: the empirical test (based on investigation), and the existential test (based on personal experience). By denying the existence of God, the atheist leaves himself just one option in his pursuit of happiness and purpose, namely, the existential test of self-fulfillment.


At its core, Pascal's argument is based upon risk, reward, and possible negative consequences.  Not faith.

For the believer in God and the follower of Jesus, there is more than the existential test, which is subject to circumstance and condition. We also have the empirical test of the person, teaching, and work of Jesus Christ. Atheists may respond by saying there is an empirical test for the naturalist as well, one who believes in matter alone. But on issues of morality and meaning they have nothing to look to for a moral framework beyond themselves, and if their assumptions are true, the existential arena is the only legitimate route for the pursuit for meaning. Pascal was declaring that if the existential test for finding meaning in life was the only option left to him, the hungers of his heart had been met in following Jesus and thus he was fulfilled. In a worst case scenario, where the atheist is right and death is oblivion, Pascal had still met the only test the atheist has for belief and found his relationship with Jesus fulfilling. As a Christian, he met both of his own test for truth in the person of Jesus (the empirical test), and the existential test posed by the atheist. It was for that reason he could say he could not be a loser, and the gamble was not a gamble he could lose, no matter which test he used.


He's essentially saying that the opportunity cost of living a life that adheres to a religion is relatively small, and you also might get the benefit of the warm fuzzy feeling that faith can provide.  In this philosophical debate, the power of the argument for religion isn't so much redemption or fulfillment.

Do not misunderstand Pascal.  The stick here is much bigger than the carrot.  Can I ask you a question?  Did you actually read what Pascal wrote in his own words or did you read an analysis of what Pascal wrote by a person who is interpreting it?  Did that person happen to be particularly religious?
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Pi
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« Reply #47 on: February 15, 2016, 01:06:53 PM »

Jeff,

I think the biggest issue here is that you've made a lot of assumptions when it comes to where I stand.  Especially if you think I agree with all the things you listed.  It's obvious that's not the case.  And it should have been obvious based on things I've written to you in our previous discussions.  It's very frustrating that you won't read what I write and instead assign a point of view to me that I don't hold.

The problem I have with you is that you went on a fishing expedition in order to try to get me to endorse something I don't agree with.  It wasn't enough for you to say you disagree.  You had to try to undermine logic and reason when it doesn't abide declarations of faith, but at the same time claim that logic and reason is on your side when it comes to the existence of God.

As I have said, arguments either stand or fall based on their own merits. If you could stick to that, it would be great.  But no, you have to denigrate everyone across the board and call into question their ability to reason, all the while saying that your reasoning is the most acceptable.  Blanket assertions like that are impossible for you to prove.

Sorry that makes you so angry but you brought this on yourself. 
« Last Edit: February 15, 2016, 01:16:03 PM by Pi » Logged

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« Reply #48 on: February 16, 2016, 02:53:19 AM »

Faith is a gift from God. It cannot be manufactured by man. There are plenty of reasons to believe, sure. But, saving faith is that irreplaceable gift. One cannot convince someone to believe something he does not, and Pascal's argument, though valid, is based on a false premise. Faith is not based on a gamble. It either is, or is not, present in your life.

I wish you believed, Pi, I truly do.  Jeff, I think you wish the same thing. But, faith does not come from us. It comes from the Spirit. And beating the horse is not fruitful. We cannot drag someone to faith, because ONLY Jesus saves.  Preach Christ crucified and be content to let the Spirit work His will.

(I also admit that I find your conversations interesting and if you can have them in joy, then carry on, just make sure no one is being hurt by them.)
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Pi
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« Reply #49 on: February 25, 2016, 03:56:30 AM »

I wish you believed, Pi, I truly do.  Jeff, I think you wish the same thing. But, faith does not come from us. It comes from the Spirit. And beating the horse is not fruitful.

I don't think Jeff is as interested in converting me than he was getting me to endorse something I'm not willing to endorse, i.e. the invalidation of reason and logic as it applies to anything else except that which supports the existence of God or the validity of faith.  The fact that I refused is what's got him in a tailspin.

But if he'll just slow down a bit and read what I wrote above (and I sincerely hope he does) I believe he might finally see that there's substantial common ground.  That's especially true when it comes to the liberal portrayal of Christians as unintelligent.  Just because someone is a person of faith doesn't mean they are stupid or somehow unable to comprehend science.

I will say again that I don't think reason and logic alone can lead one to salvation.  As I've said from the beginning, that requires faith (based on everything I've been taught and read in the Bible).  What does it mean then when people come to different conclusions about the great unknowable?  That depends.  But as I've said, we each have to find our own answers.

The fact that I disagree or am sometimes rude doesn't mean I am dangerous.  That I won't rubber stamp one of Jeff's ideas doesn't make me dangerous either.  I'll simply say that some of your Christians on the board need to calm down and understand that I'm not your enemy.  You guys get really angry with me if I won't agree with you about same sex marriage or that God exists.  And no, I won't agree that the life after death ultimatum is a wonderful thing.

You want to really see where I line up?  I fight like a wolverine against the political forces that want to marginalize the contributions of Christianity when it comes to the founding of out nation.  Prayer in schools?  Damn right, I'm for it.  We have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.  It's ridiculous to lobby to remove crosses that have been landmarks for decades, or to remove the Ten Commandments from courthouses.

I detest the attention seeking atheists who pull one publicity stunt after another because one person got "offended".  I even donate to missionaries who seek to spread God's word to other countries.  My donations usually go toward those who are trying to make inroads in predominately Muslim countries.  Let's convert the Muslim's to Christians.  Why not?

I've got my views and I don't try to hide them.  But I don't think less of Christians because I disagree with them.  Quite the opposite, actually.  I just don't like Jeff.
Sorry Jeff.  One day I might go back to believing in God.  I might also come to like Jeff again.  But at least in the short term, I'll not going to pretend I agree with something just to get along.

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